Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Look for the helpers.

“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.” - Mr. Rogers

Last night after having some special Liam and Mama time cuddled up on the couch watching Wallace and Grommit and eating Magnum bars, I climbed into bed next to him (Bill is out of town) and grabbed my iPhone for one last look at Instagram. I guess it's what I've replaced Facebook with (I'm still on Facebook, I just very rarely go to it anymore). I mean, what would I do without any time wasters? Read? Be endlessly productive? Solve world hunger?!

I don't think I'll never find out because as much as I like to think social media is a big waste of time, there's definitely something to it. As soon as I opened Instagram I saw something like this:

My heart sank. What happened? Another shooting? A terrorist attack? Damn. I told Liam I was going to read for a bit and kissed him goodnight.

Our Internet connection was running slower than Christmas so all the news sites were taking too long to load. So I went to Facebook. And then Twitter. And found out as much as I could stand knowing before trying to sleep for the night...

This is why I mostly avoid the news. I don't like to be exposed to so much negativity. It has a way of getting under our skin, making us think our world is bad and scary and unsafe. I don't want that for me or my children. Even if they never see it first hand (they certainly aren't watching the news), they feel what we feel. If we are scared or angry or sad, they will be too. Sometimes it's just easier to cut it out all together. No news is good news, right?

But my curiosity sometimes gets the better of me. Like today. I woke up wanting to know if anything had been figured out. Did they know who did this? Or why something as positive and uplifting as the Boston Marathon had been targeted? Nobody hates exercise that much. What could possibly be the motive behind such a heinous act?

The first link I clicked on happened to be a video. "WARNING. GRAPHIC FOOTAGE," it said. I clicked on it, undeterred. Not because I wanted to see for myself how awful it really was (I didn't) but because, what's the difference between a video showing what happened or a story telling about it? It's ALL graphic.

But as it turns out, not the same. 

When I read the story, I imagined the worst. When I watched the footage, I saw the best. After the initial shock (which I CANNOT imagine experiencing ever but after running 26 miles...there are no words), almost every person on the screen ran TOWARD the blast. Not away out of fear; toward out of love. THERE WERE THE HELPERS. Some had been helpers all along (medics, volunteers, police officers, cheerleaders...) but others became helpers out of instinct. Out of love. Even those who had just run the race of their lives ran farther to help. I stopped the video. That was all I needed to see. 

If my children are going to experience anything through me today it will be this: there is bad in the world, yes. There probably always will be. But there is also GOOD. So much good that it far outweighs the bad. Always. Look for the helpers. Find the good. Be the good. Choose love over fear. It's the best we can do at a time like this.

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