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2007 - Buckweed fire chars 38,000 acres, destroys 21 homes in Canyon Country and Agua Dulce [story]


The Good Long Road | Commentary by Jennifer Fisher
| Saturday, Apr 20, 2013

JenniferFischerThis week I find myself feeling the need to take a break from the ABCs of the Santa Clarita Valley because of the tragic events that have touched all of us in some way – most notably the bombings at the Boston Marathon on Monday and the explosion Wednesday in West Texas.

For me, both of these events hit close to home as they happened in, or near, places I have lived. I grew up not that far from the West Texas explosion, probably 40 miles away, and I lived in Boston for a few years. Plus, my husband was born and raised there. In fact, a classmate from his high school lost his wife in the bombings. She was the second person to die.

And although not in the national media, I learned that a young man in my hometown of Temple, Texas, shot himself at the high school this week (he did not shoot anyone else) and has since died. Then, I read of a shooting at MIT and an officer dying – another Boston-area death. As of this writing, there are no further details.

This week has highlighted violence and destruction from all directions. Yet, I also saw solidarity and pride, hope and compassion, help and generosity: marathon runners making their way to the nearest hospital to donate blood; an off-duty officer in Texas volunteering to assist firefighters in Texas,  knowing the danger to himself and honorably losing his life; a brave woman whose cellphone footage from the awful Boston events is now helping law enforcement officers; the immigrant who did all he could to help others in Boston; and so many other, similar stories.

The words of Mr. Rogers have drawn a lot of attention, too:

“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.

These words have given many parents an angle for talking with their children about the events, and I believe his words also help us big people – adults, grown ups – grapple through these difficult times, too. While we might stay strong for our children or in the presence of others, many of us are falling apart inside at the thought of our own child, loved one, parent, relative or friend being among those at the bombing site or the blast in Texas.

Yet, looking for the helpers is perhaps the only way to keep our heads above water and keep our hearts from sinking into despair. Perhaps even better is for each of us to consider what small things we might be able to do to be a helper or, as I like to think of it, to be a light in the world.

At the end of a week such as this, an extra smile or hug or note for someone could make a big difference. Donating blood could save a life. Supporting the Red Cross or any other organization doing relief work could go a long way, or simply looking for opportunities in our own communities can make a difference.

Could an organization working with troubled youth benefit from a donation or from some volunteer hours? Does the food pantry need canned goods? Do our own children need us to stop and step away from our computers to give them some quality time? Does an elderly friend need a visit?

When working through feelings after a week of so much to feel dismayed about, I find that focusing my energy, emotion and efforts on being a force for good in the world – being a source of light – goes a long way.

I hope you agree and decide to join me. Please pop over to The Good Long Road on Facebook to let me know how you cope with difficult events. I would love to hear what you are doing to spread some light and goodness in the world.

I think we would all appreciate hearing those types of stories right now. Inspire me.

 

Jennifer Fischer is co-founder of the SCV Film Festival, a mom of two, an independent filmmaker and owner of Think Ten Media Group, whose Generation Arts division offers programs for SCV youth. She writes about her parenting journey on her blog, The Good Long Road. Her commentary is published Saturdays on SCVNews.com.

 

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