Poverty is far-reaching and chronic. Not unlike depression, poverty is something that one comes back to over and over. Even those who want nothing more than to escape poverty (of any kind) continually find themselves back at square one having just the means to survive. Attempts to free oneself from either affliction (poverty or depression) tend to end in failure, with each try to alleviate the suffering making the next one more difficult. These afflictions-poverty, clinical depression-are so misunderstood that those who suffer them feel ashamed. They cover their trials, which subsequently making them harder to bear, leading to deeper isolation. To those who have never experienced poverty of any kind, or taken the time to truly consider it, there appears to be easily implemented solutions to these problems: they are just maladies with well-known cures. Those people are wrong. Poverty envelops an individual: body, mind, spirit. Both depression and chronic material poverty, when untreated, are consuming fires that remove happiness and destroy life.
People need to be more in tune with the sufferings of those around them. Instead of making hasty judgments, we need to truly read into situations. How many lives could have been saved had the truth about clinical depression been known? The hurting does not pass. It cannot be overcome as easily as those who have never suffered it assume. Material poverty is not always a result of laziness. Even when it is, once a person is trapped in cycles of public aid and incomplete education returning to more healthy trends is no small feat-often it is nearly impossible. As Bryant L. Myers says in his book, Walking With the Poor, “Poverty is the absence of shalom in all it’s meanings.” People who suffer these problems are not at peace.
Be a peacemaker. Listen to the things that people say. Tune into their emotions. Never jump to hasty conclusions about the situations of others. Care and care deeply.