“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.”
― Fred Rogers
I am sure you have heard this quote before. It’s comforting, isn’t it? I find it to be especially so in relation to my children.
This week started off with the usual inundation of world news, which preyed most emphatically on one particular emotion:: fear.
200+ precious girls STILL enslaved in Nigeria.
And then, beyond the media, there is deep grief and sorrow happening in the lives of our communities, our families, and in our own life.
And if that weren’t enough, I found myself at the mercy of Entitlement. It was one of those days where people kept cutting me off while driving. I was ignored at a retail establishment in order to accommodate one whose purchase quadrupled mine. Someone behind me honked incessantly (you know the kind where one holds down on the horn and then counts one Mississippi, two Mississippi…), afraid I would hit his brand new car, even though he turned illegally and was now blocking me so that I could not back out of the very parking space he wanted.
I came back home, utterly exhausted by the world around me, and honestly – I shut down all the electronics, muted my phone, crawled into bed and watched three back-to-back episodes of Gilmore Girls.
I was DONE.
And that weight of the world followed me for the rest of the day.
I even thought maybe I WILL actually see that Left Behind movie and create a countdown calendar until the so-called rapture and just hold on for dear life until then.
I was not in a place where I had the eyes to see where the helpers are.
I was not in a place to BE a helper.
And I certainly was not in a place to acknowledge and allow the God of all the helpers to reign.
If I was not able to fix it myself, then I was sure as heck going to just ignore it.
There are certainly days and periods of time, where a bed, some coffee, and (certainly) episodes of Gilmore Girls are needed. I believe that. I do.
But we cannot stay there, can we?
We need to look for the helpers. We need to acknowledge them. We need to encourage them and pray for them and the work that they do to reconcile us to one another, working tirelessly to authentically make this world a better place. It is no small thing! And it is exhausting work.
We also need to be the helpers. We need to do our part and not shy away from it or worry how Mr. Jones will feel about it. We need to advocate, raise our voices, and not grow weary! We need to use every resource available to us and push through that tendency to default. Don’t allow the blanket of helplessness to smother you.
Most importantly, for those of us who are people of faith, we need to continue to remind ourselves as to WHO is in control.
Our Creator weeps when we weep, and by the very makeup of His nature, he cannot, WILL NOT allow evil to prevail.
It is from the very place where we know of our own very belovedness,
that we can boldly love THE OTHER.
It’s empowering, isn’t it?