What if you‘re a helper, but the coronavirus crisis that’s going on in our world today means you can’t be with the ones you want to help?
Johnny Russell was driving by an abandoned K-Mart shopping center near Lewiston, Maine, Thursday morning when he saw this vehicle with a lone woman and a hand-lettered sign that said, “I miss you.” As he slowed to read the sign, the woman smiled and waved, so he stopped to chat.
The woman told Russell she’s a teacher for a school in Maine School Administrative District 52 in Turner, Maine. He asked her how she’s coping with schools being closed — and being away from her students.
“With great concern on her face, she told me how she was listening to the news this morning and for the first time in her life she had heart palpitations,” Russell reports. “She said she knew she had to act immediately and in a positive way to help her grief subside, so she reached out to her students online and asked them to meet her at the parking lot and pick up some gifts she had for them.”
Russell said the woman was able to see some of her students today and chat — although it was from a safe distance.
As I thought about what Russell experienced with this woman today, I was reminded that some people are driven to help and to serve. When you feel called to do this sort of work, you feel helpless when you can’t do what seems so natural.
These are the sorts of people who our communities depend on. We couldn’t make it without them. Russell told me that he’s seeing this sort of dedication from other teachers in his area, too.
“There are teachers standing at the doorways of our schools right now helping to feed the kids that don’t have much of a home life,” he said — and he said that gives him goosebumps to think about.
Media and history have a way of talking about politicians and various others who cast themselves as important. Some of them matter, but none of them matter more than the people such as this teacher — and millions of helpers just like her — who feel compelled to do everything they can to help others and to let them know someone cares about them.
These people are all around us. No matter how bad things get — in the medical crisis or the economic problems that might follow — remember that these people are among us.
They want to help — and we desperately need them.