There are times when we are put through more than we feel we can take. I’ve experienced those times in the last week as I have watched tragedy and grief strike not once, but twice, as death visited my wife’s family two times in the span of a few days, the first was a complete shock, the second, though not unexpected added greatly to the trauma in its unfortunate and cruel timing. I have been a part of this family for more than 26 years since I married my wife. While I grieved for the lost, it also hurt me deeply to watch my wife and her family in so much pain. One can feel completely useless in such situations, except I saw that is not the case at all. I was inspired through those dark times by the better parts of our nature that I got to see and be a part of.
Here is what has become abundantly clear to me through all of this: When we strip away the posturing and blustering about all the things that divide us, we are all still just fragile human beings trying to get by and—AND—we NEED ONE ANOTHER. I think a large part of the anxiety we are experiencing in these troubling times is that we can feel a palpable void in our sense of community. During these dark days my extended family has been suffering through, I’ve had many reminders of how important a part of our human-ness family and community are as I’ve seen lots of folks step into the most desperate moments in peoples’ lives and lift them up by being helpful right when they are needed most. This is what it means to have empathy. This is what it means to be part of a family. This is what it means to be part of a community. This is what it means to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
In most families there are a wide range of political perspectives, ranging from quite far to the left to quite far to the right and everything in between. Tragically, our current state of political affairs in this nation has caused a great deal of tension in many families. This past week, I was reminded about what is really important. I saw worldly tension melt away into spiritual love during a time of shared crisis. I saw people focused upon what truly matters and I saw politics get left behind. I saw good-hearted people step into the fog of grief and take much of the burden of the logistics of a death off of the grieving and place it upon themselves to allow time for others to just breathe. Nobody asked anyone who they were voting for. Nobody asked anyone what they thought about this hot-button issue or that. People just showed up and helped and loved the best they knew how.
During a very sad and tragic time, I was taught a lesson about what’s real, what’s lasting, and what matters.
Mr. Rogers once said, “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.” I recently learned just how true that is on a family level. I had to sit down and write out my feelings about the experience and this song is the result of that. I dedicate it to all the helpers out there who fill such a vital role in our families and communities.