Do you ever think about one thing for so long that it becomes a part of your daily life? A thought turns into a theory and before you know it you can’t move through your routine without putting the weight of that theory into play. I don’t know. Maybe it’s just me. I tend to over think things. If I think about a word long enough it can seem like it’s not real no matter what Merriam-Webster says.
Something I just can’t shake right now is people. Do you realize how many hundreds, if not thousands, of people you interact with in a given week? There are billions of us here on this planet. Billions of us who largely have the same goals; to be happy and to help those we know and love be happy. It’s pretty remarkable if you think about it. We interact with each other in big or small ways every single day. Sometimes those interactions seems angry, hateful, or some other emotion to which we don’t like to be exposed. Even those, the interactions that make us feel small, are in some way helping another person achieve the happiness they strive for. Maybe it’s not the best way, but a co-worker who is angry over the way you’ve done something isn’t really angry at you as much as they’re upset that something is getting in the way of their perfect plan to do everything the way they think it should be done. A plan that will help them reach whatever their goal is in their career.
It’s almost unbelievable to think about, but if you try really hard you can equate every minute action of an individual to something that they believe will help them or someone they love to be happier.
It may sound pretty wild, but we’re really all just stumbling through life trying to find happiness in a world that seems to want to keep us from doing so.
Lots of people are passing around a great Mr. Rogers quote. He speaks about the habit of looking for the helpers in tragic news. It’s an incredible message. He’s right. When the world goes dark you never have to look far to find the people trying their hardest to turn the light back on. His words are powerful and they certainly resonate with anyone who has seen any coverage of the tragedy in Sandy Hook.
I work in TV News. I spent my Friday saturated with information about the tragedy. I watched, read, wrote, studied and thought deeply about every detail. I pulled myself away from my desk in the newsroom several times to cry in the bathroom. I posted on Facebook about my concern over my career. On days like Friday I feel like I’m not cut out for the gruesome world of television news. There’s a callousness that I haven’t yet developed, and honestly hope I never do. There’s this ability to zone in to the work and just tell the story. I am not at a point where I can separate myself from a tragedy. I don’t mean I am writing with one particular side in mind. I like to think I do a decent job of seeing multiple angles of a story. What I mean is that I can’t take the heart out of it. I can’t just write about the lives of 20 young children being taken and not feel an ache in my chest for my nieces and nephews, for the parents of those children. Someone once told me I “don’t have the stomach for news”. I was offended at the time. Yesterday I realized she was right and maybe that’s a good thing. I posted something on Facebook about my experience covering the story and how badly I wanted to just tear myself away from it. I was overwhelmed by the response of friends and family. People who know me well were telling me that the human response made it even more important for me to help tell the story. I could try to find a way to share the details with compassion. I could put less focus on the obviously messed up monster who committed this crime and more focus on how we move forward as a community. So that’s the task I took on. Looking back on the shows I produced yesterday I am proud of the work I did. I’m proud that we covered how parents can speak with their children at a time like this. I’m proud that we only said the shooters name a minimal amount of times. I’m proud that at the end of the day I didn’t feel like I’d strip the story of it’s humanity.
Covering sad stories always hits me hard. Most nights I find myself saying a prayer for at least one victim of violence. Usually it’s a smaller scale tragedy that only seems monumental to the family who lost a loved one. Then there are days like yesterday, days when it’s hard to even know how to pray for the families. Last night my prayer was simple. Lord be with the families who lost loved ones today. Help them in the weeks to come to find a way to still see the good in this world. Let us be a light for them.
I love what Mr. Rogers said about finding the helpers, but this is the quote that has taken root in my heart: “I went into television because I hated it so, and I thought there’s some way of using this fabulous instrument to nurture those who would watch and listen.”
— Fred Rogers (Mr. Rogers)
— ― Fred Rogers (Mr. Rogers)