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Opinion: Poverty, Loss and Blessings

By Josh Mitchell

Corinth Today News Editor

I have always been a believer that I have much more in life to be grateful for than not.

The facts that I walk, talk, see, smell, taste, hear and think are in themselves blessings when I think about everything I get to experience as a result of these senses. Beautiful vistas, pleasant aromas, good music, tasty food and thought-provoking novels are just a few of the items I can indulge in as a result of these capacities.

Mitchell

But there is so much more that life has granted me, including a loving and supportive wife, daughter, mom, dad, and countless other family members and friends.

I have been blessed with a career I love. I get to live in a great community and have experienced living in many different parts of the country. Just living in the United States is obviously a blessing with this nation’s bounty of food, jobs, culture and diverse opinions. I am very grateful for the military that protects our freedom to live in such a blessed nation.

With all that said, I realize there are many people who have not been as blessed as I have been. For instance, in Corinth there are many people who live in poverty. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated that 17 percent of the county’s 37,000-plus residents live in poverty.

When I sit back and think of those people and try to put myself in their shoes, it can be challenging since I do not currently live in poverty and have never faced extreme poverty. The best I can do is relate to experiences I have had in the past and draw from times I have interacted with people in poverty. Throughout my 16 years working in journalism in Mississippi, Florida, Wyoming, North Carolina and Missouri, I have seen poverty situations in all of those states.

Mississippi has always been a leading state in poverty, but I have also seen low-income Floridians with tarps still on their roofs months after a hurricane. I have seen poverty on the Indian reservations of Wyoming and in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina and in the inner-city of St. Louis.

I myself have had seasons when my bank account was on the edge. In the past, I have lived in an apartment with a large rat. I have lived in a cold house because I wanted to conserve propane during the Great Recession. I have been out of work and have had to pull myself back up. I have taken a large jar of coins to the store to dump into a counting machine. I have eaten hamburgers that tasted like cardboard.

But let me be very clear, my experiences are absolutely nothing compared to others battling poverty in the U.S. and especially other parts of the world. Believe me, I am not whining about the minor struggles I have faced in the past, but I try to use them to at least come within the realm of relating to others who have faced far worse situations.

And as we all know, poverty and loss are not just measured in dollars. We see rich people all the time commit suicide.

Just like everyone, I have experienced loss in life, the biggest being the death of my dad when I was 22 years old. While that was a huge loss, I thank God that I had a dad who cared and who was around to raise me. Some people never had that. So loss is definitely a matter of perspective, just ask all the people who lost family in the California wildfires and the countless other tragedies we hear about almost every day.

But at the end of the day I am very grateful that my blessings far exceed my losses. My hope is that everyone else can say the same.

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