My husband and I just returned from Barbados. Everyone’s first question is, “Was it beautiful?” or something along those lines. The first time it was asked, I hesitated. What I finally said was, “The beaches sure are.”
The hesitation, I realized, came from what we saw on the rest of the island. Poverty. There were nice areas, but those homes still held a shabbiness. The weather, sun and sea air do not allow for pristine conditions. #barbados #beaches #poverty
After being asked this a number of times, I began to feel melancholy. Then came a bit of guilt followed by shame. Finally, last night, my feelings overwhelmed me, and I was hit with unworthiness. Questions of ‘why’ overtook my thinking.
I have so much. Many there have so little. Mostly because of the place of our births.
Poverty is not simple to explain. On isolated islands, there is an added component of being locked into a limited location. While many in the Western world who live in poverty may feel limited physically, it is more psychological and therefore one can choose hope that is can be overcome. #understandingpoverty
Not so in Barbados. Not many have funds for a vehicle, let alone air travel.
Even so, what I did experience, as I often do in places of poverty, is a camaraderie and an attitude of thankfulness. Their lives a since of community and belonging. These intangibles just might be more valuable than our 4-bedroom homes, 1.5 cars per person and new clothes for every occasion. #thankfulness
Why, you ask? Because they create a resiliency in the people. They can offer people the tools to make the most out of what they have. They combine into a spirit of gratefulness and belonging that makes people hardy and strong and quick to recover. #resilient
How can we who have so much – believe me that even if you are resource challenged, you have more than most of the world’s poor - have this same wealth of intangibles?
Challenge – take a week and write down just one thing each day for which you should be thankful. And when something goes wrong, write down a silver lining in the situation. Then report back here how your attitude has been effected. Do not dwell on the ‘why’ this is difficult or impossible to answer, but on the ‘even so’.
If we all practiced this thoughtful gratefulness, we would all be much wealthier. #grateful
Be well -Valerie