When my sons were very young, we found Mister Roger’s Neighborhood on public television. I remember that he always walked to the closet to hang up his sweater or his sport coat while singing the opening song, “It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.” Such simple words which today mean so much as we navigate the changes in our country.
Today, I recalled this quote and found it enormously helpful…and I plan to remember it.
“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
This week, I’ve found both solace and inspiration in watching what has unfolded since the day following the inauguration. I am reminded that our Constitution and it’s Amendments, International Laws and so many other guiding documents are in place. In addition, there are many experts out there – studied and practiced in applying all of them – who are quite literally at the helm, navigating the choppy waters of change and evolution, as they have for a long time. We may not see them, nor will we hear about them in the mainstream media. They ARE there. (If you haven’t done so already, turning off mainstream media can be a great gift of peace, calm and civility in your life. There are so many other reliable sources for real news out there. They are helpers, too.)
These are the people who are not only stepping forward in protest when it is called for, they are the ones I call the “people supporters and protectors”. There is no color or national origin designation that guides their steps. They are the helpers. They are the ones that we don’t see (unless we are among them). They do NOT seek notoriety or fame for what they do. Most of them even eschew the oft assigned “hero” mantle when something they’ve done hits the big news. Quite simply these are compassionate beings who know who they are, what their purpose is and they are stepping fully into it. Indeed, they are the HELPERS. No resistance here. Stepping forward, stepping in, seeing the need and addressing it – directly.
I am a bit concerned about the pervasive use of the word resistance to describe what many are engaging in. Resistance will meet resistance with more resistance. Stepping forward with open hearts and open minds will bring safer, compassionate, more meaningful and long-lasting change.
“Better to be a pilot light than to be a firecracker.”
– John Lewis
This is an important time in our history – in the US and on the planet. Let us embrace it rather than resisting it.
Let us also remember to be good and kind to ourselves. We all feel a pull to do something. I am reminded of Theodore Roosevelt’s words:
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.“
Being kind to strangers, neighbors, and offering peace to all you meet may be your contribution. It is mine. Calling or writing to your representatives may be another way to engage. And if you are so moved and energized, I’m sure you can find a movement somewhere that will gladly accept your assistance. We also have the power of positive prayers of gratitude, meditation and spending time in nature to remind us of who we truly are in our inherent loving kindness.
Finally, let us look to those who have been the trailblazers of long ago. From the women’s right to vote to civil rights, many have gone before.
“Every fight is not your fight. Pace yourself.”
– John Lewis
John Lewis – now there is a leader. I happened upon this interview yesterday from 2013. It’s timeless, and inspiring.
Here are more helpers. Look for the helpers.
In addition to the wisdom that we all have, the helpers that I have highlighted here have offered theirs in myriad ways to children, adults, many different groups.
We all learn from the wisdom that we ALL have.
Let us build bridges of love and compassion, rather than walls of hate and fear.