“I think of that Mr. Rogers quote, ‘Look for the good,’” my sister says to me, when I have asked her for what seems like the hundredth time:
“How do you do it? How do you do that job every day?”
She is a social worker, now a supervisor. She has helped the most broken – and sometimes worse. Children and babies. Born addicted, or with parents addicted. Children abused within an inch of their lives. She has told me stories that haunt me, years later. “I could never do it,” I say.
I am not strong like you, I think.
But she does it. Every day. And she still looks for the good, she says.
She finds it in the foster parents and adoptive parents. She finds it in the parents working to change. She finds it in the small saving graces of near-deaths that weren’t deaths. She finds it in the callers who are brave enough to call. She finds it in the other social workers. The police officers. The doctors and the therapists.
She doesn’t re-tweet meaningless hashtags or regurgitate rants with an agenda. She doesn’t preach. She doesn’t judge.
She helps. Every day.
I watch the news.
Two men – separately killed, unjustly?
Look for the good, I hear her whisper.
Five officers killed by a sniper, more than double that injured.
Look for the good, Jen.
I turn to social media: Endless rants and regurgitated posts on gun control and politicians. “Our president is a failure!” one says. “Let me help you! I’m the person for this job,” a candidate spouts.
Keep looking, my sister…you will see it.
A shooting close to home in Missouri, another officer.
I promise, just look. It’s there.
Politicians making promises. People with blinders choosing which one to believe based on nothing more than loyalty to a side.
Guns need to be controlled. You can’t control guns. Guns aren’t killing people. People are killing people. People with guns are killing people.
Look for it, it’s right there, Jenni. The good.
Muslims are trying to kill us, they say. All Muslims? Well, no…but most, maybe. Maybe?
You will see it… the good is right there.
Black lives matter. All lives matter.
No lives matter.
I can’t find it, sister… I’m looking.
I am tired. I am sad. I feel lonely in a world of chaos. I want to hide. I want to hide my family. I want to scream and I want to stay completely silent and still at the same time. I want to stop hearing… anything. The noise. It’s coming from everywhere, yet no one is saying a thing.
Ivy comes down the stairs from a long nap, sleepy-eyed with wild red hair running in every direction, as if it’s trying to escape her head. She runs to me and hugs me. She wants to snuggle, as she does after every nap. I hold her as I rub her back, and I think how big she has gotten. How much heavier she feels than she did even a month ago.
This is the world we are giving you baby, I whisper.
She looks up at me with bright blue eyes, smiles and says, “What, Mama?” Her face is innocent and kind, untouched by hate, untouched by anger, untouched by fear.
And I finally see it.