By Josette Rhodes, 30A Songwriter Radio
I am having a hard time deciding what to write this month. There are so many talented musicians to choose to feature. But my heart is just not in that space today. There are a multitude of fantastic CD’s to review. But it just doesn’t seem like enough. The world is heavy. Time no longer belongs to us. So much has happened in such a short span.Globally. Locally. And then our town burns. Thirty Three Homes violently erased from existence. Thirty Three Families suddenly adrift in the world. It is a lot to process. It seems almost too much. And if we look at everything that is happening with our eyes filled with fear it may just be. But I will not- I can not accept that. I refuse to be blinded to the incredible beauty that surrounds each of us. I choose to look through my eyes with Love. Love is not a filter. Love does not blind us to the reality before us.
One of my favorite stories is one Mr. Rogers told. He spoke of a time when he was young and saw scary things on television and his mother would say to him…”Look for the Helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” Fred Rogers was born in 1928. He lived through some of the hardest times the United States has seen. But he always looked through the pain, for life on the other side.
One does not have to look far in South Walton to find helpers. They are everywhere. From sewing masks to delivering groceries to our neighbors- they are there. The stories are endless. And once again, the Mussett Bayou Fire has brought out the best in our community. I was up that night, afraid, staring through the smoke at the flames like so many others, praying the wind would stop, fearing for my home and the homes of others. I felt lost and helpless. And then I saw the helpers. The bravest men and women I have ever seen. They ran into danger to make sure we were all safe. They did not stop to think- they just went. Running from door to door with the flames at their heels making sure not a single person was left in danger. And then they stayed. They stayed and they fought. And they won. Not one soul was lost
The stories of the helpers that day are countless. I have read through what seems like 100 posts on facebook of people recounting their experiences, and while they are wrought with tragedy, the beauty and the gratitude shines bright. From the family pictures lovingly stacked next to a pond by a stranger to the helpers armed with garden hoses, defending their neighbors homes, the helpers were there.
As I sit here trying to make sense all that is happening, my mind keeps coming back to one thought: we are living in history. The kind of history that is taught about in schools. The kind of history that can change the course of the world. The kind of history that generations of our families will speak of. Let us be worthy of that. Let us bring pride to our families. When the children ask what did Great, Great, Great Grandma and Great, Great, Great Grandpa do? Let the answer be: they never gave up and they loved.