Looking for hope

Martha with her cone of cookies
weet Martha’s “State Fair Deal” cone of cookies comes with a choice of milk or coffee for $9.

Our world is a pretty scary place right now.

We live under the constant threat of international terrorism at home and abroad — and have been for over a decade.

And we have our own deadly wars — of race, religion and politics — raging on with increasing regularity right here in Minnesota.

Some days I wonder if our American flags will ever fly for more than a week at a time at full staff.

Honestly, it’s hard not to fear for our lives — and those of our loved ones — in such seemingly unstable times. I can scarcely fathom the mounting number of random and not-so-random acts of violence we’ve seen in the past month.

I don’t have a cure for what ails us.

Even Mr. Rogers’ hopeful, oft-cited quote has nearly ceased to bring me comfort because we’ve had to come back to it so often in the past year: “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 yet, maybe there’s some strength still to be found in his words.

There’s so much good in the world, so much light.

Our always-on news cycle — and the unfortunate sequence of recent events — has just made it much harder to see it.

Maybe this issue of Good Age can help revive some of that hope and love.

I mean, just look at our Cover Star, Martha Rossini Olson, aka Sweet Martha. She’s a Minnesota State Fair icon, who brings joy to tens of thousands of people a year with a quintessentially American, soul-comforting treat — the beloved chocolate chip cookie.

Other points of light in this issue include a travel story about idyllic Door County, Wisconsin; helpful resources for caregivers; and, perhaps most important of all, Dave Nimmer’s tale of local Lutherans and their open-hearted acceptance of an Islamic temple in Afton.

Maybe it’s not so much helpers we need to be looking for, but for folks offering love when the expected or most common response is hate.

I think that — with a side of cookies for everyone — would be a good place to start.