Rubber Boots and Mr. Rogers
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Rubber Boots

For almost a week now, our lives here in flyover country have been wrapped around blizzards and rain and floods and heartache.

I’ve watched as our entire region has been battered by every kind of awful that weather can throw at us. The after effects have been as bad or worse as the weather itself. Infrastructure has been destroyed, lives have been lost and in many places, reality will never be the same. There will be a before March 2019 and an after, and those two times will be vastly different forever.

As I walked thru our soggy farmyard doing chores, I couldn’t shake the burden of it all. Head down I trudged to bring hay to another muddy pen and that’s when I remembered to focus on what I was thankful in that very moment: Rubber boots. Such a simple thing and yet so game-changing while doing chores in the wet. I can’t imagine farm life without them, especially right now.

And when I started thinking of things to be thankful for, things that make this all more bearable and I felt flooded by relief in finding something good to focus on. Mr. Rogers always told kids to “look for the helpers” when disaster struck and so that’s what I started doing and realized that helpers come in many ways, shapes and forms...and for those helpers I am thankful.

-Our first responders—and beyond. To all the deputies, firefighters, DOT workers, NWS personnel, township supervisors and others too numerous to list—you are our frontline and you have been amazing. Thank you!

-The news media, for all the bad rap it has gotten in recent years, has done a stellar job of getting information out...especially small-town newspapers and radio. I know lots of extra hours have gone in behind the scenes to make sure information was timely and accurate and getting to where it was needed most. Thank you.

-Our modern ability to move people and animals (and heck, snow) in ways our great-grandparents who settled these plains could never imagine. Helicopters and motorboats and giant snowplows are truly God-given miracles when you are the one getting rescued. Thank you for every engineering advance.

-And the even smaller technologies that we normally don't notice each day-- space heaters, sump pumps (honestly, how amazing are sump pumps!), boot dryers and yes, rubber boots. Items that bring comfort in incremental but incredibly important ways. Thank you to the inventors who made them possible and the small town hardware stores doing everything they can to give us access to them.

-Social media has helped spread the word far and wide of those in need. Emergency airlifts, food, water, hay and even cowboys on horseback have shown up in affected areas all through the wonder that is Facebook. Even if the only way you can help is a simple prayer, that prayer wouldn’t exist without a way to connect us. Thank you.

-Our country. Sure we argue and don’t agree with each other’s ideas (seemingly more often than not in recent times) but my heart swells when I see people pitch in, literally and figuratively, to fight this battle together. Thank you for remembering to love your neighbors, from coast to coast and everywhere in between.

This has been an awful, terrible and no good week but sometimes you need to look down at your rubber boots and say a prayer of thanks. Find your helpers, focus on them and know that the sun will indeed come out tomorrow.