In the middle of nature’s protest, I heard something else. Sheltered by a canopy of budding leaves, a cardinal sat in the tree outside my bedroom window and sang its song. In a thunderstorm. In the dark. How beautiful and unexpected.
My mind went to an anecdote I had heard the prior evening. Fred Rogers, that equanimous purveyor of patience and good manners from my childhood, once said (verified by snopes.com):
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.’
I find that so comforting–and true. Look at any tragedy and you will find people rushing to help. Police officers, firefighters, EMTs, doctors, nurses, and regular Joes (or Janes, if you prefer) move in and make things happen. As others rush from the scene in justifiable horror, the helpers rush to it. They offer safety, medical attention, and most of all comfort. And they far outnumber the bad guys.
Let’s get this straight. The tragedy in Boston sucks. It’s horrific, terrifying, and inexcusable. It reminds us that evil pulsates throughout the world, and it will rear its head in places where it is least welcome. We must figure out who did it, hold those people accountable, and do our best to protect against it happening again.
But in the aftermath, let’s give the attention to the good. Let’s celebrate the acts of selflessness, the kindness, and the heroism that become equally apparent in these times. Let’s listen for the birdsong in the thunderstorm.
Those are the stories that deserve the spotlight.