by Beverly Hutchinson McNeff
We often look at people who have had successful or inspiring lives, and we might want to be like them. However, we forget that those lives didn’t always start out successful or inspiring. While often marked by tragedy or pain, they persevered. It was not that the world showed them success, but that they were driven by something deeper.
Spiritual teacher Ram Dass once said that when faced with a challenging situation, we should use it to go to God. The simplicity of this wisdom reminded me once again of the simplicity of A Course in Miracles and the simplicity of God. It is not hard to enter His presence, for He is everywhere. God is in the midst of this fearful thought, in the midst of this confusing time, in the midst of the pain and suffering. There has never been a time He has not been with us, so let us use whatever we are feeling right now to go to God.
You have often heard me mention the life of children’s television innovator, Mr. Rogers. His life has been celebrated recently on the occasion of his fifty years of service, and rightly so. The man did a great deal to help children deal with life and its challenges through his television show, and it continues on.
The more we have learned about Mr. Rogers, the more we see that his life was not always easy, and that his message was not just limited to children, but appropriate for all of us. His kindness and patience seemed to be endless and his ability to explain things simply and directly to children was a gift — perhaps even genius! As a matter of fact, Albert Einstein said,
“If you can’t explain something to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.”
I believe there is something we can learn from Mr. Rogers in the wake of what is going on in our world right now. We can see how he recognized God in the midst of what he experienced and saw in the world, and without mentioning God, he exhibited the attributes of God — most notably: love, kindness, and compassion.
Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood debuted in the tumultuous year of 1968. The assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bobby Kennedy, social unrest over the Vietnam War, and riots over civil rights were just a few of the challenges our country faced. Fred Rogers shied away from none of these and used his television platform to bestow simple wisdom we can all understand.
When he discussed difficult life challenges, he explained what his mother told him to do: always look for the helpers. As a matter of fact, in a recent Los Angeles Times article his widow, Joanne, was asked what wisdom Fred would offer to the world during this current pandemic. Naturally, she said, “Look for the helper – talk about the helpers.” She said that helpers are those who, at the height of global chaos, try to find a way to ease the burden for others. Right now it’s doctors, nurses, grocery store workers, mail carriers, and friends who bring food to those in need.
Why focus on the helpers? Well, most of us can figure out that when we look for the helpers, it inspires us. It makes us feel better about humanity, but it should also inspire us to be helpful. A Course in Miracles inspires us in a beautiful prayer found early in the text…
I am here only to be truly helpful.
I am here to represent Him Who sent me.
I do not have to worry about what to say or what to do, because He Who sent me will direct me.
I am content to be wherever He wishes, knowing He goes there with me.
I will be healed as I let Him teach me to heal.
This prayer reminds us that we can access God’s endless help when we come from that calm, compassionate, and loving place within. In our current circumstance with Covid-19, we can clearly see those who are helping. So, be inspired! But, don’t stop there. Ask Him Who sent you, how you can be truly helpful. Do not let the chaos of angry voices stop you from remembering the truth. Knowledge during this time is our friend. It is not a time to deny what is going on in the illusions of the world, but to look clearly at it and be truly helpful by using it to go to God. What would God have you do or say? Where would He have you be? And, how would He have you heal and be healed?
Clearly, if you are coming from fear or loss, that is not the will of God. He will never abandon you, but He will wait until you change your mind and allow His healing into your awareness once again. God has need for you right now.
A Course in Miracles was born out of need. Course scribe Helen Schucman’s private messages received before the Course was written, stated that the world was worsening at an alarming pace and that teachers of God (teachers of love, kindness, and compassion) were needed now more than ever before. Rather than a frightening thought, this can be an empowering truth.
We need to clearly look at what is taking place on our planet and not deny it as “just an illusion” or “fake news.” The Covid-19 pandemic, issues of world hunger, financial inequality, global warming crisis, etc., are all issues of our time, and we need to look at them so they can be healed. We can be the helpers that are needed, we can take it to God, and we can be truly helpful.
This is not the time to betray the truth and believe in the lies of the ego; you walk with the power of the Universe encompassing you. You are not separate from that Power, nor have you ever been. You are as God created you, and nothing in this world can prevail against you. As we read in workbook lesson 110, “For this one thought [I am as God created me] would be enough to save you and the world, if you believed that it is true.”
It is time to believe that it is true, for it is the truth. “This is the Word of God that sets you free. This is the key that opens up the gate of Heaven, and that lets you enter in the peace of God and His eternity.”
“I am as God created me. His Son can suffer nothing. And I am His Son.” (ibid)
You will, no doubt, have your ups and downs during this time, but we are with you, and we are all in this experience together. Truth will prevail, for the end is certain. We will awaken to our Home in God. As the Epilogue to the Course’s Manual for Teachers reminds us,
“Forget not once this journey is begun the end is certain. Doubt along the way will come and go and go to come again. Yet is the ending sure. No one can fail to do what God appointed him to do. When you forget, remember that you walk with Him and with His Word upon your heart. Who could despair when hope like this is his?”
Let us not despair. Let us use everything we encounter to go to God. You are here to be truly helpful, and nothing in this world can prevail against this truth.