One of the first things we did when we began renovating the building in Savannah was to move the lounge downstairs. That means the general public no longer has to hike up fifteen steps for a Coke—and the office secretaries no longer have to endure the stomping since the former lounge just happened to be directly over the present office.
The new lounge is much larger and much nicer with a full-sized fridge and a counter dedicated solely to coffee and a separate seating area with an alcove where the vending machines reside. And we added televisions in an effort to provide entertainment for the kids and distractions for the adults. Since the new lounge is basically divided into two rooms—I’ll call them the vending room and the coffee room—we can offer two viewing options. The vending room caters to the kids and is usually playing Disney Junior. The coffee room is geared more toward the adults so we generally have that one tuned to one of the 24/7 news channels. Like folks are not already depressed enough . . .
I usually make at least three trips a day through this oasis, mainly because I run on caffeine. But lately it’s been a depressing journey. It’s as though the whole world is intent upon taking a one way trip to the theological nether regions in the metaphorical hand basket. If it isn’t Hurricane Harvey trying to wash Texas off the map, it’s terrorists trying to take out crowds of people in the most innocent of settings, and if it isn’t terrorists then it’s some crazy person half-way across the globe trying to blow everyone else up—or at least make the rest of us think that’s what’s going to happen. And I can’t help but watch as I stand there, filling my cup to the brim. It’s like the proverbial train wreck. You don’t want to watch but you can’t look away.
The hardest event to fathom—at least for me at this moment—is the devastation in Texas. I cannot begin to imagine the loss and the fear and the grief they must be experiencing and I hope I never have the opportunity to attain that knowledge. The scale is so grand and the thought of recovery so distant—I ’m sure right now survival is the primary if not the only goal for everyone that has been touched by this tragedy. And what can I do? I’m a doer. I fix things . . . or at least I try. But there isn’t a magic wand in the world big enough to erase the damage and the nightmares and the agony of those involved.
Fred Rogers had the answer to that question, or rather his mother did. I’ve said it here before, but today it bears repeating. To quote him directly, “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.” And she was right. In every situation I mentioned earlier, there have been helpers, those people who rushed in with little or no regard for their own wellbeing, because they knew someone was in need. So what can I do? Traveling to Texas doesn’t seem a realistic option although I can send supplies and donate funds. I can’t battle the terrorists of the world or alter the thinking of someone in another country who seems bent on destruction. But I can improve my little corner. There are people I meet every day who are fighting battles of their own, people who may need nothing more from me than a kind word to give them the strength to persevere. If we all focus on changing our little corner—making it better by being better—then we really can make a difference . . . one corner at a time.