Thursday, January 26, 2012

pERsOnaL DiSTanCe

When I was younger, I reacted to hunger and poverty from the safety of distance.  What little I could discern about these concepts came from news snippets over the radio, photographs and videos on the TV, random articles in newspapers or magazines, a book or two, and possibly even classroom lessons.  Yet the emotions I had were as abstract as the concepts themselves.  Sure, I felt outrage.  I felt anger.  I felt sadness.  I felt helpless.  But overwhelmingly, I felt distant.

Today, the hunger and the poverty stared me in my face, and they left me winded.  When a 5-year-old boy comes into class crying out of hunger because his parents have yet again spent all the money on alcohol but not on food for him and his siblings, it messes me up.  When a preschooler hits his classmate because he is so hungry and he wants to get that last spoon of rice on the plate, it messes me up.  When we send a child home for the weekend not knowing if he or she will even have food to eat over the next two days, it messes me up.  But overwhelmingly, it now feels personal.

I work with these little ones.  I see their scrawny bodies and their hollow cheeks.  I see them cry and I wipe their tears.  I see the teachers stuff food into the children’s pockets so their stomachs will not hurt at night from the emptiness.  While my heart aches for them, I also feel like I am finally able to do something for them.  Because the issues are no longer far away.  Because the reality is now mine.

It is no longer about me feeling.  It is about me doing.

1 comment:

Fania said...

May God bless you more and more!!! Your post is very moving. Thank you!!!