The Young and the Poor
They were young during the invasion that left their people captive. Sent into exile to serve the conqueror Nebuchadnezzar, they are surrounded by wealth and opportunity. Dislocation and privilege do not cloud their vision. They remember who they are. Circumventing the king, the young men live simply and remain faithful. Years of study and prayer deepen their discernment. The powerful soon marvel at the wisdom of these young.
We tell the young “listen to your elders.” What do we hear when we listen to the young?
We make excuses and they grow impatient. We say, the situation is complicated. They say, if it is right, do it. We say, it’s only a dream. They enter into their dreams. We stay at hotels and politely observe. They head off into the countryside to sleep alongside the poor. We come home with ideas. They come home on fire. A cry for help does not upset their tight schedule. They are not experts at evasion. Sent off to fight wars begun by their elders, they struggle to find their lives in the shadow of death.
Socrates sought the company of the young because he knew about us who refuse to search and will not change.
From the young, we learn wisdom. From the poor, we learn generosity. This is not what we expected.
The widow lives close to the edge. She does not take one meal for granted. Each day she faces the unknown, but not alone. She makes her offering with gratitude for the love that sustains her.
Often we admire the self-reliant who hide their troubles and don’t ask for help. No wonder there’s so much worry. Our pockets feel empty, even when our lives are full. God, open our eyes. We are not alone but are bound together in beauty and need. In gratitude we give ourselves away.
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