Stating that India is full of contrasts is simply the obvious. People that have and those have not transcend traditional measures; the contrast plays itself out in lodging, food, job opportunities, sleep, and something we often forget about, “hope”. Normally one automatically concludes that those who do not have the obvious (money) cannot have anything else. For example; food is, by assumption, scarce and enjoyment non-existent. While many of the contrasts are true, I would like to gently suggest we easily forget the there are more important things that the “poor” may have that we do not.
Last night I watched a group of kids laughing and walking together in the evening dusk on the way home from school. Their school bags hung at all angles and the neatness from the morning was long since in the day’s bustle. As they walked the jokes and rivalry were out for all to see and experience. These could be kids anywhere in the world. They had what many rich kids long for – community, friendships among their peers, and hope. Even as we passed in a car we were infected by their enthusiasm, drifting back to our own childhoods and remembering fun events and the joy and hope we treasured then and now.
I found myself reflecting after dinner with friends just how precious evenings like this are. When you have someone who cares about you as a person you hold a priceless gift in trust. Experiencing laughter in an environment of safety always gives birth to lasting hope. I recalled the times that I have lived in fear of those around me. I struggled for to hold onto hope, always failing and falling into depression and despair. I knew then and now what would happen if I relied on those around me. One knows that “trusting a double-crosser when you’re in trouble is like biting down on an abscessed tooth.” (Proverbs 25.19)
Things of true value come through relationships. The poor know this and kids live this. What you or I do with this is up to us.