For The Helpers

My family taught me that sometimes you can say “I Love You” through the hard work that you do.

Today, it seems more than ever, our neighbourhoods and families are searching for community led responses to the never ending systemic challenges we are living through. At a time when faith in our official systems, police and politicians is at an all time low, we need somewhere to look for leadership and for hope. To the helpers in the village, I want you to look in the mirror. I want you to see every scar, every wrinkle, every grey hair as a badge of honour. I want you to see in your reflection medicine; the medicine we need to heal our shared pain. I want you to think back to the times you were cooking food, searching in the river, smudging or patrolling the streets, attending meetings, advocating inside and outside of these systems, and I want you to know that you are appreciated. For our relatives who have done wrong in the past and are working to right those wrongs every day, through their employment, volunteer work and family responsibilities – keep going. Your example is the blueprint that our kids need moving into the future. Let’s teach with our example how to be relentless, forgiving and kind. When our world is this sick, we must be the medicine.

I hope that the helpers in our community, in the village, can see how loved you are through the work we are doing and the work we will continue to do. When you think no one notices, the village appreciates you fulfilling your responsibility as a good relative. The heavy lifting that you think nobody sees, the village benefits from and is getting stronger thanks to you. And though they are slow to change, the systems that hurt us are beginning to change too. For many of us that still have a hard time saying the words I love you, sometimes actions speak louder. So when people try to call you down, or even you try to call yourself down, remember you are not alone. The grandmothers and grandfathers of yesterday are walking with you today – guiding us all towards a brighter tomorrow. But in order for us to get there, in order for us all to get there, we have to be kind to one another and kind to ourselves.

I need you to see how important you are. We need everyone. Despite those mistakes we have all made, we can learn to be better together. If you don’t give up, neither will I.

[photo is at the Bell Tower 2016, photo by Greg Littlejohm]

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23 thoughts on “For The Helpers

  1. We are living in a time of such chaos and juxtaposition. People want to be seen as doing the right thing, but aren’t always sure what that is or how to go about doing it. When the crazy begins, we search for the good. We try to see that even in real or imagined devastation good will come out. We are living in a time when there is both man-made crazy as well as natural crazy. We need to stop and see that in that crazy there are people who care. Who will do what they need to do because it is the right thing to do. I go back to the quote from Mr. Rogers that I first heard back right after 9/11- โ€œWhen 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.โ€ We need to find the helpers and help the helpers. We need to show the children the helpers and focus on how the helpers are trying to help us move forward. thank you for this post… in this time we need to remember that these people need our support and praise

  2. Came across this through the discover feed. Tremendous piece- beautiful and inspiring. These are tough times indeed, but the love that is shown by the people who continue to do the work in spite of it all is what will keep us moving forward. Thank you for honoring that.

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