Have you ever been to another country, one that dwells in poverty and destruction? Picture it. Picture millions of people homeless or living in makeshift tents put together out of scrap cloth and tarp. Picture little children with their stomachs bloated and hernias protruding. Picture teenagers filled with worry as they try to find food for their seven or eight siblings, knowing that each brother and sister is at home praying that they find food so they can live another day. Picture the destruction and waste around every corner, impossible to tear yourself away from. Now I ask you this, do you picture a world of endless sorrow? One filled with turmoil taking place every second? Now comes the surprising realization: the place I just described is the home of the most joyful people I’ve ever met in my life. They don’t have the distractions to make them “happy” that the U.S. is filled with. We often think that 3rd world countries are a lost cause and past any chance of being saved, but the people in those countries have something most people in the U.S. go their whole life without finding: joy.
Now, let’s talk about the United States that lies on the opposite end of the spectrum. Even though the news in the United States at the moment seems to be consumed with the terrible economy and fear of a recession, the fact that the majority of the population have a home to call their own and food to fill their stomachs proves that we are far better off than most economies in majority of the ever-struggling countries around the world. Yes, there is that minuscule minority that finds themselves homeless and without jobs, but even then we provide them with homeless shelters, clean clothes, a place to sleep, food, and even job applications to get them back on their own two feet leaving them better off in a plethora of examples compared to people striving to survive in 3rd world countries such as Haiti or Nicaragua.
Further more, I’ve come to realize that the people in the United States that are well off still aren’t “happy”. We never seem to have enough of this or enough of that, always thinking the more we receive and hoard and hold on to, the happier we will be. After all, that’s what we hear every day through media and our society as a whole. There are those of us who are provided for daily, yet we still find ourselves complaining about countless chores to keep up with the house or commenting negatively on every tiny thing because we didn’t receive the raise we “deserve”, we didn’t get the outcome we expected in our test scores. Think about it this way, we have a house to clean. We have the privilege of waking up to a job every day that we can call our own, that pays for our needs and even, at times, things that aren‘t so necessary. We have the honor of receiving a proper education in hopes of moving forward in our lives to accomplish something that will change the lives of those surrounding us. Yet we dwell on our selfishness, our wants.
Now look at the world through a new perspective, through eyes that don’t take quite as much for granted. We see a blessed country drowning itself in selfish, materialistic, empty ideas. We see a home that most would give up a limb to stay in, even if only for 24 hours. We see a society that won’t accept anyone unless they “look the part” or pay pocketfuls for the newest gadget that no one on Earth could ever truly need. We see that our society, though seemingly selfless at times, is actually dying from selfishness and deceit. Our society is a sickly breed that is a mutated form of the original definition. How often do we complete kind tasks with a goal of just wanting to make someone feel good? If we look closer we will see that we are trying to make the wrong person feel good. Sure, we may be “helping” the needy by delivering a meal, but then we move on with our day, ego enlarged, never again thinking where that human being’s next meal will come from or even when.
The people of Haiti, the people of Nicaragua aren’t focused on all of the things they “think” they need. They aren’t dwelling on acceptance. They aren’t even trying to obtain luxury. The people of these countries know what it means to truly need something. They know this because if they don’t get what they need, they’ll die. This is much different from the mentality of those resting in elite societies. Consequences are not the same if we don’t receive the laptop we wanted, though we may hear ourselves claim death if we do not get our greedy hands on what we “need”.
I do not say these things to anger anyone. I do not claim to know how every society works. I state these observations in hopes of starting a change in the human mind. I hope to show people existing in crumbling societies what true need is. We often think that 3rd world countries are a lost cause and past any chance of being preserved, but the people in those countries have something most people in the U.S. go their whole life without finding: joy. Now I ask you, are you truly happy?