Look for the helpers

Look for the helpers

This morning I woke up excited about the day ahead of me. I sat in my gratitude chair (yep- I’ve got a chair for gratitude time) and meditated and journaled about the class I would teach tomorrow- the class on finding joy through the practice of journaling.

And then I looked at my phone. And saw the news and thought to myself – how do I teach gratitude in the middle of the worst shooting this country has ever seen?

I began to feel anxious and upset and then I thought of Mr. Rogers. When I was a child his calm voice and manner was something I was attracted to like a magnet (to be honest, I was a bit of a groupie- inasmuch as a five year old can possibly be) . As an adult I became even more enamored of this man’s basic goodness, decency and concern for the children in this world.

So as I reeled with the  growing understanding of the magnitude of the situation, I heard Mr. Rogers’ voice in my head saying:  “look for the helpers” … here is the context for that quote:

Fred Rogers often told this story about when he was a boy and would see scary things on 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.”

So how do we find gratitude in the midst of tragedy; whether it’s corporate;earthquakes, hurricanes, social and political unrest -or personal; illness, death, uncertainty about our future?  We look for the helpers and we remember that there are still so many, so very many of them in this world.  

I hope if you are scared or sad or angry or confused today you can remember Fred Rogers’ calm and kind voice reminding you to look for the helpers. Already there are stories coming out of great bravery and heroism in the face of this horrible tragedy. The helpers are everywhere, even sitting in a gratitude chair in Atlanta at 6 am.

Which is where I’ll be tomorrow and the day after that… and yes, I will be teaching my class on gratitude because I can see that when I focus on the helpers- and every other thing I can be grateful for right now in this moment, it allows me to be able to be a helper to someone else. And that feels a hell of a lot better than the alternative.

Maybe you can’t find the gratitude- that’s o.k., too. Take your time- but if you need some “help” this helper is right here…

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