Look for the helpers

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Every time we face another one of these “scary things” in the news, I think of this quote from my old friend Mister Rogers. I’ve shared it a lot, too, because….well, it’s when things feel most helpless that we’re most in need of helpers.

And now we’re being called on again.

We’re numb to it though, aren’t we. To the words: “Tragic.” “Heinous.” Senseless.” We use them because the English language doesn’t have the capacity to express the true overwhelm. We’re numb to it because it feels like an impossible fix.

But we cannot be numb to each other.

Every single one of us has a responsibility to do the one thing we are born to do: connect. To be conscious. Maybe we can challenge ourselves to make a little more eye contact. To smile at someone we don’t know. To ask how someone is doing; to actually mean it, and then to listen. To be a little more present in our corner of the world. Because we are not helpless.

I get it. We’re stressed, we’re shy, we’re running late. We’re uncomfortable. We feel vulnerable. We think it doesn’t matter. We absolutely cannot use that as an excuse. Not anymore.

We think it has to be some grand, sweeping gesture. And yes: we absolutely must push for gun reform. For a more encompassing and dynamic mental healthcare system. But we can do something right now. Every single moment we can make the decision to be a helper. This is not just about politics. It’s not just about constitutional rights. It is about tapping into our humanness.

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