“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
I used to think this was a lovely sentiment for the late Fred Rogers, meant to calm our fears when the world grew dark and scary. “Look for the helpers…” These days the “helpers” are harder to find in the midst of a pandemic when we cannot trust the words and actions of those in the highest ranks of our government, when those charged with serving and protecting us are fatally flawed human beings who act on the vile depths of hate and prejudice toward people of color, when the greatest nation who once welcomed the refugee now separates babies from their mothers caging them, causing lifelong harm, when our children are expected to bear the burden of our spineless inaction by enacting active shooter drills in schools, when our commerce-driven government believes the bottom line is worth allowing the vulnerable, the sick, the old among us die so that others may get a haircut, gather at rallies and throw back a few brews at the local bar. Who and where are the helpers in a time like this? What good does peaceful protests, what good even does burning our cities to the ground do, when the helpers are dwindling among us, because we all need help right now. We are all broken.
I don’t have any answers and it makes me feel helpless and sad. It has been a bad week. Now over 100,000 people have died, many of them alone, from the virus in the U.S. 100,000 that we know of. It’s impossible to know the true cost because we have no idea how many of us have the virus. And no less significant, the world watched in horror as one black man was murdered in broad daylight by a policeman, while three others stood by…helpers but not the good kind. This has been happening for too long. Too long. I don’t have any answers. All I do know is this. Enough. Enough. Enough.
Stay safe, be kind, keep each other safe. It’s all I know to do right now. I wish it were more. Maybe it could be if enough of us do it. Maybe it’s time for each of us to stop looking for the helpers and be the helpers that we seek. Peace!
Sunday’s Week in ReVerse – 31 May 2020
evil comes in phases
I don’t venture far from home
it was too much
I don’t miss normal
the nest abandoned, no time to mourn…
A ReVerse poem (a practice I started many years ago) is a summary poem with a single line lifted from each entry of a collection of work over a particular timeframe and re-penned in chronological order as a new poem. Unlike a collaborative poem, the ReVerse features the words of one writer, providing a glimpse into their thoughts over time. I use it as a review of the previous week.