Remembering the Good in Dark Times
The first disaster I went to as a volunteer I witnessed a community that was hurting, neighbors helping neighbors, fraud, racist volunteers, and neighbors pushing neighbors out of the way to get free stuff. It was a frustrating eye opening experience. About a week in I met a woman that had attempted three days in a row to get a rake. Each time she missed out because families were sending multiple people up to get a rake and then would load up their trunk and drive away. In addition, there was no set schedule for when the volunteers with the rakes would show up at the service center, so the woman would have to wait all day in 100 degree weather in the hopes of getting one rake.
After this I became fed up and frustrated with everyone we were there to help, myself, and my fellow volunteers. I complained to my roommate that night. She was a veteran volunteer and she told me to quit focusing on the bad, there are far more good people than bad out there. The next day I tried to focus on the good, and sure enough there were multiple people helping their community that I had not noticed before and it was truly fantastic to watch.
In Homeland Security sometimes it seems like human caused tragedies occur on an endless loop in countries around the world. It is enough to make you forget the enormous generosity of spirit in the world or even forget why you are trying to help anybody. In order to remind us of the good in the world, Alan Taylor put together a collection of pictures of “helpers” in The Atlantic article Hopeful Images from 2015. He wanted to meet the spirit of his favorite quote from Mr. Rogers:
One of my favorite quotes is from Mr. Rogers, who once said that when he was young and saw scary things in the news, “My mother would say to me ‘look for the helpers — you will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers — so many caring people in this world.”