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This World Calls Me Poor

Money … money … money… It seems like all week I’ve been dealing with balancing numbers and dollars. At home we’re trying to adjust to the expenses of childcare so that we’ll be ready when the baby comes. And at school I’m trying to decide what to do with my allotted amount of science supply funds while simultaneously trying to juggle the flagline uniform purchases from the band account. It’s a mess! On top of all of this I’ve really been thinking about my approach towards my impoverished students. Last year I was mostly blind to the home lives of my kids. I was in survival mode. But this year I want to reach out to those kids and try to make a difference. Poverty’s kids are at-risk of dropping out of high school and getting into lots of trouble when they do. The streets around our schools host lots of gang fights. This year we have more students coming in from surrounding school zones which means lots of opposing gang members under one roof. It will be interesting. My education classes this summer dealt extensively with the hidden rules of poverty and how these rules will affect the classroom.

So all of this has me thinking about what it means to be poor. One of my all-time favorite songs (by Caedmon’s Call) is narrated by an Ecuadorian lady who is raising her sons alone in a hut with a dirt floor and meals of dried corn while her husband is fighting in a war. She says “This world calls me poor, I bore my babies on this floor, but [God] always provides sure as the sun will rise. So I sing Him songs of praise, cause I know He keeps me in His gaze. Jesus is all I need.” It brings tears to my eyes to hear her because I know that I am so spoiled myself. If I don’t get to go out to eat at least once a week then I’m complaining. And yet spiritually I know she is far richer than I am. There’s a verse in Matthew that says “Where your treasure is there your heart will be also” (also found in Harry Potter 7 oddly enough). I’m afraid I care too much about being rich on Earth and not enough about being rich in my love for the Lord.

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