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Being Poor is Personal
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I wondered why I so often return to the themes of financial well-being and gratitude in this journal. I meditated on this question during my walk this morning, and some memories floated to the surface.

--My friend Miguel bringing me a bag of groceries rather than a bouquet of flowers. Canned food which didn't go bad.

--Leaving my car a mile away tucked into an alley so it wouldn't be repossessed, and walking the rest of the way home.

--Phone and gas cut off for non-payment.

--Delivering newspapers at 4 a.m. to earn enough gas money to get to work at my second job.

--Counting every penny, nickel, and dime. Buying gas for the car with small change accumulated bit by bit. Praying that the car wouldn't need repairs.

--Buying the smallest (and most expensive per ounce) size because there wasn't enough money to buy the larger one, thus saving in the long run.

--Eating rice and beans for breakfast and dinner. Lunch was whatever I could scrounge (or none at all). Generous friends often took me out to lunch.

--Begging my landlord for a little more time to pay the rent.

--Evicted and sleeping in my car in my workplace parking lot (dog, too). My dog was my guardian.

--Stealing dry dog food from my neighbor's dog to feed my own dog.

--Pretending to my friends and coworkers that everything was OK.

Experiences like these have given me a deep and enduring sense of gratitude for what I have now, which seems, in comparison, to be great wealth and plenty, for the sense of financial security.

Experiences like these motivate me to share what I have now with people still in the vicious cycles of poverty and depression (it's very depressing to be that kind of poor). If we don't take care of each other, who will?

I won't ever forget.

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