Staring at the students, attending the school on the bluff, in the neighborhood where ocean views are the norm, I watched as the group prepared for their trip to London. I shook my head. What an experience and to think they are just thirteen...
Later in the day, I watched the varsity team practice. Who would have known when they were sixth graders and losing every game they’d become national champions before they graduated? What experiences they were having … at the ripe age of seventeen.
Driving to my second teaching job of the week, the one on the side of town where the views included highways and train tracks, where homes were so close together the entire town appeared to be related. it appeared the entire town was related. I prepared for what was the hardest part of my week. Adapted physical education it was both inspiring and heart breaking. I locked my car and walked toward the gym.
As I opened the door half of the class, the half capable of moving more than their heads and shoulders worked their way toward me.
Equipment lay ready on the mats in the middle of the gym floor. Hammocks hung in the corners of the gym. We carried wheelchair bound students to hammocks to provide them with a movement experience that carried them to freedom if only for an hour or so.
Rollers and pillows lay on mats for students whose greatest challenge was to crawl and move on all fours.
Some students were not allowed out of their chairs and for these students we created all sorts of head, hand and eye objects to exercise their neck, shoulder and facial muscles.
And for the students who could move on their own and who were mostly challenged mentally we created physical experiences that pushed them and allowed them to experience a tad more than they thought possible.
At the end of each class we sat in a circle some of us in chairs others leaning on walkers still others seated or laying and told jokes as we practiced stretching.
I never cried during class but damn if those kids didn’t bring me to tears, most every day- usually when I was back in my car heading to the side of town where state champions raced up and down the court after my yoga and kickboxing class and whose parents never had to adapt most anything for them…
It is the essence of all poverty.
It strikes all of us at sometime or another and can strike any child and any adult.
Some suffer scarcity in their development. Others have been robbed of formative learning and educational opportunities. Many lack emotional safety and stability. Some lack confidence. Many lack finances. And all who lack experiences …experience some kind of poverty.
And just about anything is more preferable to see than a created miracle, another human being – robbed of the opportunity to experience the rich experiences the type which remind them of their superpowers and the potential which lies within them.
When a child goes hungry their experience is diminished. When a woman is abused how can she ever know beauty?? When a young man is labeled and isolated from society how do we expect him to realize his Created potential?
Experience poverty. It is the poverty you and I can help solve. Oh yes – we can.
Most of us are rich in life experiences, some richer than others- and still for many we have experiences we can share, opportunities we can invite others suffering from too little to share.
God doesn’t make junk.
Every life is just as important as every other .
And I’m pretty sure that if we all just take care of ourselves …look out for number one…experience poverty will only worsen instead of being solved.
I’m praying today about what God’s picture for every human being might be…
Let’s not rest …until experience poverty is wiped off this planet.
Oh dear God…help us bless those around us with opportunities which enrich their hearts, souls, minds and bodies and let us be the hands and feet extending opportunities and experiences to those whose experiences could be richer if only the rest of us would share our abundance.
Photo By Vincent Dale
How Can We Stomp Out Experience Poverty?