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.” To this day, especially in times of disaster, 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.
— Mister Rogers
A few years ago an elderly aunt of mine had a heart attack while driving on a busy street. She was 90, reasonably fit and lucid, and somehow despite the squeezing in her chest she got the car out of traffic and over to the side of the road, where she pulled to a stop and died.
That’s the story. She waited until she’d safely parked her car before dying.
I tell this because it happened, and because it’s probably the most remarkable thing I know about my aunt, who was an ordinary woman. Most stories of helping are of this sort. Not flashy. A bit of kindness. A momentary regard for others.
Mr. Rogers is right. In times of disaster we need stories of caring. The more ordinary the better.
If you’re reading this it means the world did not end on the 21st of December, an ending said by some with imperfect knowledge to have been predicted by the Mayan calendar.
I would love to know how these rumors start.
Nostradamus also is said to have prophesied the end of the world, or something like it. A friend of mine who knew a thing or two believed that Nostradamus could see into the future, but that he’d tuned into a Godzilla movie.
The Mayan people, by the way, are still with us. They don’t have their empire anymore, but some of them still consult their calendar. To be sure, there are seventeen Mayan Calendars, and the one in question reset itself this weekend, as it does every 26,000 years or so, when the solar meridian crosses the galactic equator.
I take such matters on faith, but it’s a better story than the end of the world, and it’s somewhat borne out by our having made it through the weekend.
Which brings us tonight to Christmas Eve.
Two years ago I discovered the Norad Santa Tracker and showed Nick an animated graphic of Santa’s progress.
“So he’s real then,” Nick, eight at the time, said. That seemed to settle the matter.
This year we didn’t talk about Santa. We talked about Sandy Hook, which made it more believable that we’d come to the end of the world.
Like many of us, I can’t get despair out of my head. I’m having a hard time focusing lately. I feel woolly, and this world doesn’t seem the same as the lamb-white one I remember growing up in.
But of course it is, with sweetness still, and the lamb-white-seeming world of my youth just as dark and troubled as the current one.
And now I find that we’ve crossed the galactic equator and how are prospects looking for the next 26,000 years?
How are they looking today?
For some reason, it’s been hard with Nick recently, the two of us constantly butting heads. It’s when I find myself desperate to set him straight that I know I’m already lost. Before I set the limit, I’d better find my heart.
“Find your heart, and you will find your way,” said a Mayan elder, speaking about the transition of the Mayan calendar to a new age.
That’s the prospect. That’s the news. The world is still here and it’s Christmas eve. Find you’re heart and you’ll find your way.
If you have a story of caring, I wish you’d tell it here.
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Just Add Father is listening. (Add your thoughts by clicking a few lines below below, where it says comments or add one. I always respond here.)
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