"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." ~Fred
I have been thinking of this quote quite often in recent days.
There are so many scary things, so many disasters to contemplate
when we look around us. Senseless shooting violence in a movie
theater in a land of plenty. Storms and fires and shakings of the
earth that wipe out towns. The 300 million children around the
world who go to bed hungry as their families struggle to survive on
less than a dollar a day. A viral epidemic that has left at least
30 million mothers and fathers and sons and daughters dead since we
gave it a name and started counting the deaths. We can quiver,
afraid, in the face of so much disaster.
Look for the helpers.
I am surrounded by them here in Washington DC, where 21,000
researchers and doctors and activists and policy makers have
gathered for the AIDS 2012
conference to focus on "Turning the Tide Together." Great, big,
crazy ideas are being thrown around left and right. An AIDS-free
generation. Universal access to HIV treatment. Ending the epidemic.
Finding a cure.
But these are not just empty slogans to get the conference-goers
excited. All around me are helpers who are transforming those words
into realities. These helpers are running experiments in their
labs, seeing patients, putting new policies into place, spreading
the word about what really works. These helpers are out in
the streets shouting for human rights for all and lobbying their
politicians for the money that is needed to save lives. These
helpers are remembering those who have been lost by reading names
and spreading out the giant AIDS quilt with even more giant
kindness. These helpers help loved ones with pills and wheelchairs
and insurance company negotiations. These helpers take their own
pills every day and teach others what it means to live positively.
These helpers have great big brains that they are applying to great
big problems. These helpers have great big hearts that they are
applying to great big problems.
Mister Rogers' mother had it right. There are so many