Look for HelpersJanuary 3rd, 2013
As Sandy Hook Elementary resumes classes today, our prayers continue for the students, staff, their families and the entire community of Newtown, Connecticut.
In the wake of the tragedy in Newtown, there is one message that has gone viral. Mister Rogers has a message from his mother. It goes like this-don’t try to fathom the evil behavior of one person but instead “look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” I love the wisdom of his mother. God’s goodness shines through the helpers. They instinctively witness God’s loving care in the wake of unspeakable horror. The helpers give me hope and comfort.
I have heard the stories on the news. There’s the building contractor who lives in Newtown and needs to do something. He says he will fix the problems some of the residents have with their homes free of charge. There’s Jet Blue who promptly answered a family member’s tweet. The airlines provided a way for family letters to be delivered from Seattle to Connecticut in time for the funeral of their 6 year old nephew. The letters were placed in the casket with the little boy. There’s the person or persons who donated enough coffee for a local coffee shop in Newtown so that all customers (locals, media persons, and visitors) received a free cup of coffee that day. The coffee shop became a safe place of community and togetherness in the wake of profound shock and grief. There were the volunteers who worked other people’s jobs for them just so they could attend funerals. One person reported that the dinnerware and dish shelves were empty from the stores. So many people bought all the necessary utensils for fixing and distributing meals to the grieving families-so many grieving families to support.
All the clergy gave a profound ecumenical witness to the world-not for the reason of just doing so- but to minister and pray with all their people together. The Catholic priest known to his parishioners as Fr. Bob (Monsignor Robert Weiss), who has been very real, who ministers through his own pain, who cries with his people, is an inspiration to us all. I know its been said already by many Catholics when watching Father speak about his ordeal, but I too am proud to be Catholic.
Countless professionals-school personnel, grief counselors, medical personnel, emergency personnel-law enforcement, you name it, they are on the ground. People who do these jobs, they just have a job to do in the midst of their own emotions. They slog through the trenches of almost insurmountable challenges. They are simply the everyday miracle people. In Newtown now, there are thousands or millions of everyday miracles.
Tragedies are tipping points- this one especially heart wrenching. Why do we need the bad news for these miracles to become the good news? I don’t know. All I know is that the darkness will not overcome the light. And when darkness becomes especially dense, the light must interject itself. Death does not have the last word.
I pray that the shocked and grief stricken family and friends of those whose children and family members are lost to them, are somehow able to find a glimmer of light shining in their dark tunnels. May the goodness in those who surround them shine forth and give them light for the tough road ahead. And may everyone eventually heal. Amen.