When times are difficult, Fred Rogers taught us to “Look for the helpers.”
Just this week, I have looked for, and found, some wonderful helpers:
The Broadway actress, now out of work because Broadway shows have closed, who dedicated her podcast to showcasing high school students whose Spring musicals were canceled.
The unnamed staff and teachers who are finding ways to make sure students who depend on school breakfast and lunch remain fed.
The travel planner who dedicated her social media feed to happy-place conversations, not because she doesn’t take this virus seriously, but because people need to smile.
The pro bono lawyers working to assist international college students who find themselves stuck between deportation because their student visas are invalid and home countries that won’t allow them back because of virus fears.
The shipping company providing free storage to displaced college students.
The strangers who make sarcastic jokes to one another on the street, reminding us that we’re all in this together.
The woman who offered to grocery shop for an elderly neighbor.
The pharmacy clerk who gave his only bottle of hand sanitizer to an older couple in at the drive-up window.
The woman who snagged a huge case of toilet paper and put it on a table in a public place, inviting people to take a roll if they need it and leave a roll if they have extras. (And the people who didn’t come and just take it all.)
None of these people are saints. All of them are real, and present in our community. We need to see the helpers, for they are the ways in which God is at work among us. Certainly, sometimes God works through a miracle cure. More often, God is at work in a joke that makes us laugh, in a listening ear, in a simple recognition that someone else is in need.
We, my friends, are called not only to look for the helpers, but to be them. To be the outworking of God’s miracles. The world has had pandemics before – they are nothing new. In such times people have seen God and found faith, often because someone took the time to notice them and to help. You don’t need a medical degree or a million dollars. Most times, all you need is a smile, a listening ear, and most importantly the ability to put someone else before yourself.
And honestly, when we do that, it makes us feel better too.
Look for the helpers. Be one. It won’t fix all the world’s problems, but it might just change someone’s world.
Praying for you all,