Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Poor (10/25/04)
TITLE: Poverty Springs
By mike tan
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Bitter and frustrated, that was how one might describe me back in the days of my youth. I was the youngest in a family of six children. My father was a Chinese businessman who married my Filipina mother and settled into several years of marital bliss until poverty crept into our lives.
My fatherís stable job became unstable and in an attempt to save our finances, he took a more physically demanding job in Cagayan. The resulting exposure to overwork and fatigue rendered him sick with a form of Tuberculosis that worsened after his resignation and caused for him to be hospitalized when he came home.
The ensuing treatments wrought heavily in our dwindling finances and despite the best efforts of my elder brothers and sisters to chip in by giving up their studies in exchange for work, my fatherís condition continued to weaken until the only option left was to care for him at our home, which is similar to giving up and wait for his time to come.
Defiant till the end, my father saw the extent of the burden that his sickness brings to us and wishing to release us from it, he secretly took his own life by using a fruit knife, which he hid under his blanket. Shocked as we were of his death, we never recovered financially from the loss and much of our continued living was always gripped by hounding poverty.
However, the bitter experience has galvanized my siblings and me in a deep bond that runs deeper than mere blood relations. The poverty weíve experienced in our days as a family instilled in us a toughness that we employ as an advantage well within our own individual families. It channeled through us a spirit of humility and meekness that became more defined as we entered into our belief in Christís atoning sacrifice.
This year, despite my best efforts the sting of poverty once again hounds me in my own role as father to my own six children. However, armed with a Christianís faith in a God who provides and never leaves nor forsakes His children, I am shielded by a peace that passes all understanding. Yes, we are encountering some pretty testing situations in our circumstances right now but Godís guiding hand has been a constant assurance and the toughness of past experiences has prepared me for this journey as well that I am no longer bitter nor frustrated by it.
Itís funny how a manís perspective on things change, but such is the dynamic of life. It also does not hurt to realize that all of life springs from a Creator who loves and intends nothing but the best for His children. This love is the guide that strengthens my resolve, that even amidst the tests of poverty, hope springs eternal.