by Paula Yocom
“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.” Many of you may have heard this famous quote by the late Fred Rogers of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.”
Well, take a look in the mirror, because this quote is describing you. After all, you wouldn’t be reading this blog if you weren’t a caring person. You wouldn’t be checking in just to see if there was anything new happening. Though your mind could be in a million other places – on your kids, your job, personal interests— you are here. Thank God for people like you. You make the world a less cold, indifferent place.
In an age in which celebrities are worshiped, and the acquisition of material wealth is considered to be the largest measure of success, there is something different about you. Rich or poor, beautiful or ugly, serious or silly, introverted or extraverted, young or old, all of you have one thing in common – when you see another person in need, you care. This caring can manifest itself in a variety of ways, some of which are visible, some of which reside within your heart. All that you offer is valuable, and all that you do to help Ryan makes a difference in his life.
You’ve probably heard this quote too: “People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.” I imagine many have found this saying to be true. It came to life for me when my mother was nearing the end of her earthly life. It was a time fraught with great heartache and sorrow, and each morning I awoke filled with dread. My mother was suffering greatly, and she was afraid. As strong as I could be for those who need me, in this situation I was weak. I was consumed with anxiety. The world became a gray, miserable, lonely place. I detested it.
Then something happened – people began to show up. Old friends from the past, friends I had only recently gotten to know, acquaintances, strangers – they appeared as if on cue to keep me from drowning in an ocean of despair. They did this in many different ways, seen and unseen, large and small — and every single thing they did lent light to those dark and mournful days. Some of these caring souls quietly retreated back to their lives and our paths have not crossed since. Others remain connected in tandem with the fickle rhythm of life. I am everlastingly grateful to every single one of them for pulling me through the sorrow. A few had never even met my mother, yet walked into her hospital room as she lay dying and prayed with and for her. I will treasure these strong, giving, compassionate souls for all of my days. Why did they even show up? Something – or Someone – beckoned them, and they followed. I believe God sent them to ease my mother’s pain and walk with me through this terrible time.
What is it about these special souls that causes them to care, pray, reach out? They seem different because they are different. Some may say it’s because they have a good heart. I experience it as the grace of God and I feel this whenever I see such people. They understand that life just isn’t all about them. They don’t pretend to be perfect. In fact, maybe their own failures, missteps and struggles in life have served to soften their edges and open their eyes to the woes of others. Or maybe they were born this way. However it happened, I thank God for them. You won’t see them turning their backs on someone who is hurting. You won’t hear them constantly highlighting their own successes. Not that they don’t have them, because they surely do. But they know true happiness absolutely does not evolve from acquiring things, but from giving things.
The caring souls in the world – the ones like you who show up in the lives of those who are suffering – understand this. That’s why, though they may not have the most in material wealth, accomplishments or power – they are rich in the satisfaction of life. They understand why they’re here. And that difference makes them shine like a thousand suns in the midst of the deepest suffering life has to offer.
So, do me a favor – go look into a mirror and see what I see… a person filled with grace and love and kindness. Thank you for showing up here for Ryan, Ken, Sue and Kari. You may never realize the full measure of what you mean to them. But on the first Spring day when the hand of God opens the flowers and scents the air with beauty, bask in the warmth of the sun and know – this is what you have and continue to give to the Divineys during their darkest hours.
You are truly the sunshine in their lives. Please know how grateful they are for every act of kindness you have done. May someone different like you always show up when you need them. God bless you always. Keep shining.