“Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” - Fred Rogers
Earlier tonight, my son shared that his friend and her family returned safely from Germany today. They are in town now, just a couple miles away. They are self-quarantined for the next two weeks. Somewhere in the conversation, he mentioned that his friend’s mother had a fever at some point, but is now feeling better. He finished off the conversation with, “It’s not a matter of if we get it, it’s a matter of when we get it.”
It made me wonder. And of course, I worried.
I’m sure I’m not the only person who feels bombarded with nonstop updates and news headlines,
“the worst is yet to come”
“things will get much worse, before they get better.”
“Americans face new restrictions”
“campuses will be closed… All school events will also be canceled during this time.”
There is fear, panic, and then there are people who don't worry at all. It is all overwhelming.
And I wonder… Do difficult times make us better or worse? When things are difficult around us, when there is disaster or a traumatic event, there always seem to be people who are helping. At least that is the hope Mr. Rogers shared with us. Hope is what we could hang on to when we can find “the helpers.” But what does it mean, when we can’t find them? What happens if we cannot find the helpers?
I remember the teacher telling the story of when she huddled with her young students at Sandy Hook Elementary. She told each of them that she loved them, because she wanted that to be the last thing they hear. She was a helper.
I thought about the last tornado “duck and cover” emergency we had and the teachers who talked students through their fears, sometimes their tears, to help them feel at peace. They were helpers.
I also thought about the time our school counselor spent weeks carrying a young child in her arms much of the day. He needed safe arms to keep him calm. She was a helper.
The helpers seem to be everywhere when things are difficult. But, will they always be there? What if… What if they are not there? What if we look for the helpers and we don’t find them? What if…?
Maybe the beautiful thing about challenging times is that we can find them. We just have to know where to look, but we can find the helpers. Maybe we may not always see them right away, but they are there. Maybe if we feel we cannot find them soon enough, then maybe, just maybe, it is us who must step forward to become the helper.