Thursday, April 18, 2013

Look for the Helpers

Forget about "business as usual." Between Monday's tragedy at the Boston Marathon and last night's explosion of a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, I'm incapable of writing about travel, food, gardening, even books. 

Like you, I've been watching and reading news reports, staying up past my bedtime, and thinking about the unpredictability of life and our need to make sense out of the senseless.

After the Boston Marathon bombings, social-media expert Kristen Lamb wrote a blog post about how a bystander's bravery restored her faith in humanity even as disasters reduce our tolerance for social-media gaffes.

Lamb's post also included this image of and quote from Fred Rogers:

Last night, I watched helpers run to the rescue of those trapped in a nursing home in West. Helpers also fought fire and lined up to transport people out of town. Seeing them in action comforted me in a way Bible verses couldn't because those helpers were prayer in action.

When I think of the people whose lives have been changed by disaster, I resolve to wring more out of every day I've been given. That doesn't mean I'll add an around-the-world adventure to my bucket list, although I may go zip-lining sooner than planned. My chief resolution is to pay better attention to the people around me. 

My Older Daughter's birthday's coming up. A few days ago, I asked her what flavor of cake she wanted. 

She hesitated. "I don't really like cake." 

For three decades, OD has eaten cake on her birthday. She gets points for politeness, but how I wish I'd known she'd have preferred lemon bars.

I'm going to pay attention. And, if called upon to act, I hope I've got what it takes to be a helper. 


Liz Flaherty said...

Good post, and, like you, I hope I can be a helper.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Oh, boy, Liz, that's the big question, isn't it? Damn, I miss Mr. Rogers.

Anonymous said...

"Seeing them in action comforted me in a way Bible verses couldn't because those helpers were prayer in action."

Of course - unless the words transform one to action then they are just dead words in a book.

Don't worry, Patricia. There is no doubt in my mind that you would respond the right way in any challenging situation. You're kind by nature.

I would like to think that I would respond the right way too. I can only hope so.

I enjoyed your undeleted expletive. I remember once talking to any elderly woman whose husband had recently died and as she was relating some of the details of his death, she pounded her fist on a fence and said: "Damn it!".

He was a lucky guy.

- Pat

JOAN REEVES aka SlingWords said...

Wonderful post, Pat. Thank you.

aroseisarose said...

It's not politeness; it's that you taught us to pay more attention to each other than to the menu. How's that for helping?

Jennette Marie Powell said...

Events like this really do make us think about what's really important, don't they? I have to stop watching the news at times like this because it is just too disturbing. Thanks for reminding me of the good it can bring out in people.

Lark Howard said...

Inspiring post, Pat. Thanks!

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hi, Patrick,
Kindness and courage don't always travel together. We both have to hope we'd respond the right way.

You said, "...unless the words transform one to action then they are just dead words in a book." Thank you. That's what I wanted to say but didn't get across so forthrightly.

I swore a lot last week.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Oh, Joan, it's been such tough going for Boston and for West. Thanks for stopping by.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hi, Amy,
You give me too much credit, but I'll take it. Thank you.
Happy Birthday!

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hi, Jennette,
Mr. Rogers was so right about looking for the helpers. And you're allowed to turn off the television when things get too disturbing. My guess is your writer's imagination shifted into overdrive, and you needed a break from visualizing what people were going through.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hi, Lark,
When terrible things happen, I realize how unimportant my day-to-day concerns are. Thanks for stopping by.

debrakristi said...

Very inspirational. Like Jennette brought up, I think one is completely allowed to shift gears when needed. It's a legitimate way of coping and, if need be, a way of keeping the creative juices flowing. What happened what horrific, but the response we witnessed was amazing. The spirit and kindness of man can never be underestimated. You would have been there among those helping those in need.