“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
This quote has been a constant presence on Facebook and Twitter and Tumblr the past few days. Every time I read it, I feel myself exhale, slowly and cautiously, and in that moment I realize I’ve been holding my breath ever since the first terrifying details started spilling out of Newtown, CT.
Twenty children and six teachers were murdered at school on Friday. Three days before that, a masked man walked into a mall a few miles from my house and murdered two people. I have no idea how to process that reality. I think of the victims, and I am overwhelmed with grief. I can hardly bear to think of the pain and fear they experienced in their last moments on Earth, and worse, how they were robbed of the chance to live. I think of the killers, and I am overwhelmed with anger–sadness, too, but mostly anger. I think about the cultural factors that contribute to tragedies like this, and I am overwhelmed with frustration and hopelessness.
Then, with a gentle nudge from Mr. Rogers, I think of you, the helpers, and I am overwhelmed with gratitude. Keep reading »