The Helpers

Earlier this month I had the opportunity to participate in a professional development workshop offered by Jessica Minihan. The training was excellent from an educational standpoint as well from the viewpoint of a parent learning how to parent a spirited daughter. One of the takeaways that hit home for me was a reference she made to Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood to making an intentional decision to “look for the helpers” in all things. Too often I am caught in the devastation and tragedy when I scroll through my news feeds. I need to remember in these tragic moments there are also people showing the best side of our human nature through their kindness and grace. I look at my tattoo daily and challenge myself to hold true to being “strong and courageous.”

A few weeks ago the clear mountain creek in my hometown rose to a flash-flooding muddy river that surged through town. Some homes and businesses were devastated as the water turned and flowed down the main and residential streets. The Red Cross, first responders, and neighboring communities all pitched in to sandbag, evacuate, feed, house, and begin removing the mud and rock left in the wake of the water.

The Carbon County Disaster Relief Fund shared the following video thanking “Drew McManus of Satsang for sharing his beautiful song ‘Think of You”, Videographer Schyler Allyn for producing this video, and many community members who shared images to help make this video possible.” Watching footage of the destruction of my hometown still seems unreal, but the strength and support of our community is evident.

My Aunt Lee, when interviewed for the local KTVQ news station, shared “We feel like we’re in a really good place in this country, and the world, to be in this small town where people care about each other.” She has shared numerous stories of the goodness of people who have shown up and helped out in whatever way they are able to do so. In these kinds of moments, even the somewhat smallest or simplistic acts of kindness are received as giant gestures.

I think back to our help flight to Denver and the months surrounding the day when Josh was diagnosed with Menkes Disease. Our community surrounded us and supported us emotionally, medically, and financially. We were walking through fog; yet, on the path, helpers met us where we were to help us continue moving forward. Years after his passing, we still have helpers. People still remember and understand even the simple act of saying Josh’s name or acknowledging his life is meaningful. These moments are like blue sky during a storm.

This summer I have the priviledge of being able to spend most of my time with Emma. Her five year old perspective is simple and pure. One moment she is happy and the next, one would assume the world, as she knows it, has ended. Although, I am thankful I have learned other coping skills than crying and stomping my feet, I have a lot to learn from her about focusing on the moments. In so many of the moments I share with Emma, I am reminded of memories with my mom. She loved summertime: gardening, camping, swimming, fishing, and spending time together. Her presence in my life has been so influential, there are moments I forget she is gone.

Helen Keller in Bereaved (1929), wrote “What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.” Traveling down the now mud and rock stained streets of my hometown, reflecting on memories of Josh and Mom, Keller’s words bring me comfort. I am the person I am today as a result of each of the people who have helped me along the way.

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