I was planning on writing a happy piece this holiday season. It would have been about family, togetherness, hope, and all of the things the holidays are supposed to truly mean. While I celebrate Christmas at my home, I was planning on speaking of other peoples’ traditions as well. I wanted to tell everyone to have a Merry Christmas or a Happy Hanukkah, and I would have given other appropriate seasonal salutations to those who may celebrate different traditions. This piece was supposed to be about the happy, good things that this time of year is supposed to represent to us all.
On a day like Friday, it’s easy to forget that there is good in the world. Even as we finalized the stories that would be on today’s front page, I said out loud, “All of the news is sad today.”
I found myself teary-eyed and emotional again and again. Then I read the words of the late Fred Rogers, and I was reminded to look for the helpers.
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.”- Mister Rogers
Even in that horrible setting in Newton, Conn., people stepped up to help. Teachers held themselves together and led children out of the school. Emergency personnel and volunteers responded, as did counselors.
And so, a few days ago, many of us were awed by the thousands of people who surrounded the scene of the tragedy to help. We spoke with reverence of the courageous teachers who never stopped helping through the whole event. We spoke of first responders and politicians and counselors who helped and will help.
Look around you at your fire station, police station, ambulance base, hospital, or wherever it is you work. Look at your coworkers or your fellow volunteers. When you look at them, realize that you are in the company of a group of people who would risk their lives to help a stranger. Remember that these kinds of people exist in this world. Remember that there are more good people than there are bad people and that there are more helpers in the world than there are those who would seek to cause harm. Remember that good is actually winning, will continue to win, and has already won.
We may have different ideas about what exactly will help. But we have some pretty good hunches. Some things we’ll all agree on. Listening to each other as we process the event will help. Giving a child the most precious gift of all: our full attention, floor or lap time, will help. Engaging in activities which strengthen our connection to our neighbors and our local community will help.
However we are called to help, may we be bold about it. May we allow our commitments, our action, to be visible. May we claim our power to act, to care, to change the world. As we move out into our day, our week, and 2013, may we be part of the healing.
This week as we mourn those lost in the recent shooting incidents, and all of the other bad things that have happened we need to celebrate those who are the helpers. Celebrate the heroes and the good that comes out of the bad. Celebrate the lives of the helpers who were lost. Celebrate and carry on with their spirit of helping.
This piece really is about what the holidays represent. Hug your children, hug your families, help those in need, celebrate the good in your life and remember what life is truly about. God bless the helpers. God bless the good in life and the fact that there is so much of it to see when we open our eyes. The bad may be shocking, but the good is much more powerful.
Perhaps we should strive to not only look for – but to also be – the helpers