"Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” - Mr. Rogers
One year ago today we received The News. The News that Scott had been laid off. Laid off in the middle of a societal and economic freak-out. We were assured it wasn't "performance-based"- simply "the world freaked and we have no money". Cold comfort that did nothing to actually help our situation. A scoop of sugar in our crappy lemonade, if you will. It hurt to be considered acceptable collateral for a societal freakout driven by hashtags, runs on toilet paper, and people getting their medical advice from news networks and political spin. We had never felt more alone. Nobody asked us if this was ok... Most people hid behind their hashtags, justified their actions with doom-scrolling, and told us to shut up and put up with the consequences of other people's fear and selfishness. Easy enough when you aren't the one drying your children's tears and putting a timeline on your savings, I suppose.
Most people did this. Not all. Most.
There were a few people who rallied around us. A few people saw the injustice, pain, and loneliness and said "We are here. Tell us what you need." They offered homes to us, a job, childcare, and a judgment-free space where we could cry and rage at the unfairness of it all. But really, the thing that spoke volumes was the fact that these few people ran towards a crisis and not away from it. And during a time when running away from a crisis was encouraged, nay - mandated, this meant everything. Everything.
For years I have been in awe of the people who run towards disaster and not away from it. Those are the people who make life worth living. The people who do what they can to right the wrongs of this world. The people who push back against injustice and say "This is not ok. This is not your fault. I'm here to help." The Helpers.
I still struggle with rage and bitterness. I still resent the trajectory that other people's decisions have put us on. I still struggle to reach out to people who (indirectly) cheered on the end of our world. My hope is that someday they will find a way to honor the loss and pain they caused for so many millions upon millions of people.
I've tried for a year to grieve and move forward- it is mostly 2 steps forward- 5 steps back situation. But I try. I try every day to forgive people who do not seek my forgiveness. I'm navigating waters that are so completely foreign and complex, I don't know if I'll ever be the same.
But this I do know- The Helpers were our saving grace. The Helpers are the reason why I know I need to forgive- because humanity can be good, kind, and wonderful. So for those people who held us on April 30, 2020 (you know who you are) I will try to move forward with love and grace.
And while I am still an absolute mess of rage and grace with no clear path towards healing- I know to honor The Helpers.
So, in remembrance of a day in which we relied on those who ran towards a crisis, I'm donating to The White Helmets. If you aren't familiar with this organization I highly recommend you click away from this blog and google them. In the midst of the 10 year civil war in Syria, a group of individuals saw the need to rescue people trapped in the wreckage of recently bombed buildings. Innocent humans caught in the crossfire of a situation they didn't ask to be part of. The White Helmets saw the injustice and humanity of this situation and sought to right the wrongs. They run towards disaster and suffering, not from it. It is dangerous and holy work. I am in awe of them. In a step towards my own personal reconciliation, I'm focusing on the good in this world. The White Helmets is definitely that.
One year ago today our world fell apart. We are trying to put it back together. I am ragey and angry about it. I'm not ok with how many people acted. But I am trying. Trying to forgive those who do not seek my forgiveness. Trying to trust those who do not seek to earn it back. And for all that futile abstract emotional work I am doing- there is one thing that is tangible and real: I am honoring those who run towards disasters to help those who are suffering- I hope I can do them justice.
"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Do not be afraid." -Frederick Buechner