Laziness, or Circumstances?
I had a wonderful time at Change of Heart Weekend, even though I didn’t get to experience all of it. I thought i’d share something interesting that happened to me the day after the event. I was working out at the gym and one of the personal trainers was trying to convince me to sign up for personal training. I was telling him about how i’d love the extra help to meet my goals, but that I would just be unable to sign up for it at this time because I cannot afford it at the moment. He kept telling me that if I really want something I will do anything for it, and that I will find a way to pay for a trainer if I really want to get fit.
Anyway, I didn’t think anything of this conversation until I got home. If the Espinozas (the couple that my partner and I role played as) really wanted to eat a proper meal,wouldn’t Tony just deal with his back pain and get to work? I realized its connection to Saturdayâ€™s food bank activity. What I found was that when we are unable to afford anything beyond the basics, or even the basics, others tend to assume that there is something inherently wrong with you, that you may be lazy for example. I jokingly accused Tony, my husband in the activity of being lazy, but it actually became real on Sunday. It is so easy for others to blame you rather than your circumstances. My experience cannot be compared to someone who cannot even afford to buy a meal, but it was a great lesson which I would not have even comprehended if it weren’t for Saturdayâ€™s activity.
When looking at poverty, we often fail to look at the system. For example, Maria Espinoza made $1,540 a month with $4 a day for both Tony and her to spend on food. In addition, Tony was suffering from a back injury, so he was unable to work. In spite of all of this, they were rejected for food stamps! Perhaps real solutions can be reached once it is realized that we are trying our best, and that it is not necessarily we as individuals who have failed, but rather, there are external forces sometimes beyond our control that have failed us.
Just something to think about…
I’d like to end this by thanking all of the wonderful speakers and participants who created such life-impacting dialogue.
:) Sana Saeed