By Elizabeth Speth
“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
Life is an ugly mess. I mean, it can be. Everywhere you look, there is poverty, greed, avarice, cruelty. Natural disasters. Sustained suffering. Loneliness. Children sometimes die before their parents. I don’t have everything I want. Maybe you don’t have anything you want. See what I mean? Don’t you feel terrible after reading this paragraph?
There is hope for us, though, in perspective. As Jose N. Harris said:
“Some people live in a bitter, angry, hate-filled world.
Some people live in a friendly, caring, love-filled world.
For me, the key to finding happiness in the maze of muck outlined above is gratitude. And for me, the key to gratitude is finding beauty. In everything.
For instance, I am a manure manager. Forget about my actual profession. What I actually spend the most time doing in my life is managing waste. I have four dogs, five horses, three cats, and three grown children whose bowel habits were once my daily concern. I know from poop.
But some of the most beautiful moments of my daily existence are in the transition hours of sunrise and sunset, when the horse manure scooping business is booming. Whether I like it or not, every day, I am out there watching Mother Nature’s creations stir and wake, or settle for slumber. What a gift. Thanks, excrement!
Even in the worst disasters, the most wide-spread suffering and pain, you will always find people who are helping. Those are the beauty. This blog is my gratitude journal. A list of beautiful things in this mostly beautiful life. Horseback rides like the one with my daughter Julia in the picture above, wildflowers in the pasture, beautiful meals, a strong, hot cup of tea, a thought-provoking book or quote, fabulous puns — everything is fair game. If we can keep our perspectives straight.
I hope it helps. I want to be one of the helpers.