the helpers

Written by Jordan Maslyn

March 24, 2020
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.” – Fred Rogers
I don’t know about you, but since the coronavirus started to feel more real here at home, my typical cynicism about humanity began to kick into gear. Rather than looking for the helpers, I began to look for the “hoarders,” and I could find them everywhere I looked – hoarding toilet paper, hand sanitizer, etc. But, as always happens, as I let my cynicism overtake my optimism, it became toxic for my soul.

Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” – Fred Rogers

Over the past week, I have tried to be intentional about seeking out the helpers through social media and through conversations with friends (from a safe distance, of course), and as I have done that, I have seen so much human beauty even in the midst of the uncertainty and the chaos.
As Christians, our faith tradition describes all humans as being made in the image of God – in other words, we carry a Divine DNA within us, and as I have become more intentional about seeing that in the world around me, I have found my own Godlikeness become stronger and win out over my initial cynicism.
As our neighborhoods and world continue to look different over the coming weeks, how can we focus on the helpers in our communities? How can we also then turn around and become helpers of others, putting our own Divine Nature on display for others to be encouraged and inspired by?

the practice

The practice that has been most meaningful to me recently has been that of the Daily Examen. The Daily Examen is a prayerful meditation practice from Saint Ignatius of Loyola from the 1500s. The idea is to reflect daily (or even twice daily for the most diligent among us) toward the end of your day. 
Personally, it forces me to slow down and to be more mindful of my life rather than just letting life pass me by.

There are 5 elements to the meditation:

  1. Acknowledge awareness of the Divine within and around you.
  2. Review your day in a posture of gratitude.
  3. Recognize a high point from your day (consolation) and a low point from your day (desolation).
  4. Choose one of your consolations or desolations to lean into. Let yourself feel your emotions about it, and see what God speaks to you through your emotions.
  5. Look with hope toward tomorrow. How do you feel about tomorrow? How can you connect yourself with the Divine Flow that is already at work as you head into the next day?