Yesterday morning as I drove through an empty downtown Klamath Falls-void of people and cars alike—giant snowflakes fell from the sky and gently fell across the empty streets, and for a moment it was like I was in some dystopian movie, half expecting a helicopter to land and guys in hazmat suits all pile out of it. I was struck by how I couldn’t remember any natural cataclysm/ war/ B.S. like the COVID-19 that has changed things worldwide in such a short time. We’ve had pandemics before, but in our age of communication, the response has been swift relative to times past when people communicated by horse or by telegraph. In essence, our world shut down in 10ish days!
In fact, history shows every generation faces their own foe that can show the worst in humanity (to varying degrees, of course): war, economic depression, displacement from homeland, genocide, natural disasters, and those who seek to profit off it all; and now we have a new one that presents its own challenges and risks. So as the Good Book says, “we must be wise as serpents and as gentle as doves.”
I was reminded then of what Mr. Rogers (yes, that Mr. Rogers) once famously asked his mother when he was a child upon watching the violence surrounding the Civil Rights movement on the news. Her response was simple and elegant: “Look for the helpers.” Look for those who see the welfare of neighbors as well as their own families. Look for those who are willing to be there for someone else who knows how to walk in another person’s moccasins.
Then I started to see the helpers. They are everywhere if you look. Simple as being available to give their time, kindness, and love to another. Generations past didn’t think themselves extraordinary; they did what they could with what they had, and they just helped. Everyday people once hid Jews from Nazis or took up arms against them. Everyday women served as nurses and aids on the front lines of the Civil War. During the depression, everyday people looked after their neighbors to make sure people got fed, at great expense to their own dinner plans. Everyday people volunteered to take the children of strangers out of London and shelter them for years in their country homes and farms in rural England during Hitler’s relentless civilian bombing. None of them saw themselves as superheroes; they just helped someone with what they had. We see it happen every time there is a disaster on the news or a great need demands we put aside our everyday plans.
In our everyday way, you go into a world with another new risk, and you will do what is in your heart; make things better for others. You also stand ready, fearful and poised for whatever is to come as we have yet to see just how this will all play out. I am comforted knowing that generations past felt similar ways in adversity and still sought to make things better for others—and God saw them through it just as He will see us through this.
So let’s go help. Lend your strength to others today, then go home to love your families and rest, because tomorrow we get to help some more. Practice your spiritual disciplines and rest, so you are strong inside and out. Breathe. Read and listen to materials that feed your soul. You have your knowledge, training, and experience and are amazing at what you do—literally, people tell me every day how much they appreciate you out there, especially now.
So while some may seek to corner the market in toilet paper and hand sanitizer, we are blessed to work and to be there for others. It is awesome to watch you all work, selflessly assessing and reassessing the situation, and communicating PT changes and alike, calmly and as a team. Stay the course, my friends. May the Lord be the wind in all your sails today and return you to port safely tonight.