Dave and I have never been in poverty.
But we’ve visited.
This means we have never dealt with the real difficulties people face when they are in true poverty. We haven’t had to fight to take care of our family while working minimum wage full time and still struggling to pay rent. We haven’t had to choose between feeding our kids or eating dinner ourselves. We haven’t experienced true poverty. But there was a period of time where we didn’t have quite enough.
We were both full time seminary students when we got pregnant with our first child. What we soon discovered was that being full time students and paying for prenatal care and baby supplies was expensive. We learned how to cover the basics. We qualified for the WIC program, which is a government program that provided peanut butter and cheese and cheerios. We ate lots of toast at the free bread bar on campus. We brought popcorn to the neighborhood potlucks. For our parents sake, I want to clarify that we probably could have called home and asked for help but we were young and stubborn and determined to make it on our own.
But when it came time to furnish the nursery, we had met our match. How would we afford nursery furniture? We were talking about that one afternoon when we were out walking. Then we saw it. Right next to the dumpster at our apartment building. A glider rocking chair. The wood was pretty chipped, it had seen better days, but it was in one piece. So we grabbed it and painted it and hauled it up stairs. We were so excited.
Had we just pulled a rocking chair out of the trash? Yes.
Did it make a loud screeching sound if you rocked too far in either direction? Yes.
Did we have to learn how to stay in just the right spot so the screeching sound wouldn’t wake up our baby? Yes.
It wasn’t great. But it was our screechy dumpster chair.
It turns out old habits die hard.