This photo breaks my heart. It came attached to an email this week from a charity helping the poor in various countries. It purports to be a Peruvian woman who makes the barest of livings collecting recyclable scraps. That’s the only information given.
The pessimist in me immediately wonders if it’s true. She could be – I can’t really know – the local or even a stateside director of the program, posing for a photo. She could be a lot of things, none of which are germane. Even if she were Ivanka Trump in makeup it doesn’t take away from the fact that people the world over live hand-to-mouth, meal-to-meal.
I showed the pic to my wife and we were both stricken with a sadness. For this woman, certainly, but for ourselves, too. Maybe our reaction is the kind of religious self-centeredness that Jesus talks about with the Pharisees? We were both saddened by our forgetfulness. In how we think we have it rough when our slow Internet causes a blip in the Seahawks game. This woman searches out plastic throwaways to feed herself and her family. She probably makes sure that her kids eat before she does, while my family, having the good fortune to be born here and now, live in breathtaking luxury by almost any worldwide measure.
My resolve is to be more mindful of this. This unearned good fortune of mine and of this unearned hardship for so many others.