“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.” ~ Fred Rogers
I’ve always had a difficult time understanding and relating to people. In my younger years, since I lived a rather sheltered life, that feeling was primarily with the society I was a part of. As I expanded my experiences, traveling to other countries and opening my eyes and ears to the world at large, I started feeling a bit more in sync and became more successful at keeping an open mind.
However, there are some things that people do I will never understand, and I don’t think I’m supposed to. In my own lifetime, there’s 9/11, Columbine, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Sandy Hook, Fort Hood, Norway, Aurora, the Sikh temple, Joseph Kony, and widespread child sexual abuse by the last people one would have thought could commit such a thing. That’s just a small list of atrocities which I could pull from memory. Add to that the tragically large number of personal stories I’ve been told of abuse and neglect…..well, it’s been more than enough for me to lose faith in humanity from time to time.
The Sandy Hook tragedy was especially difficult for me personally, and it was during the reporting of that horrifying event, while experiencing extreme despair, I happened across the quote above. After reading that, the tears came forth with even more ferocity, but from a different place. Instead of crying in anguish, I was crying out of love and hope. I suddenly saw not just the horror that was done, but the incredible love and caring that was shown by those who swooped in and took action. I wept with the knowledge that there are every day heroes out there who will give of themselves selflessly without a second thought. I finally saw the “helpers”.
It seems that one little quote has caused a fundamental shift in the way I now see the world. As the tragic events of today became known, I found myself spending much more time seeing the helpers. The police, volunteers, runners, strangers – all rushing in to care for the injured with little concern for their own safety. The evil person or people who perpetuated this horror is/are far outnumbered by the good ones.
It’s a relief to finally be proud to be a human being.