Last weekend John and I went to see “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” in which Tom Hanks plays Mr. Rogers in his neighborhood. Rev. Fred Rogers was a Presbyterian minister who studied child development and made a career of using the medium of television to teach and love young ones.
I thought that the story was beautifully written, and the movie well made with good acting. Fred Roger’s widow, Joanne, makes a brief appearance, which is quite sweet.
While there were many beautiful moments in the movie, one that I especially like is an exchange between the actor who plays Joanne and the actor who plays a reporter doing a story on Fred. After observing Mr. Rogers’ kindness to so many people and how he was so beloved, the reporter notes that Fred must be a saint. Joanne replies that he is anything but a saint and that he gets mad and struggles just like anyone else. What Mr. Rogers did was work hard at being kind and compassionate, pray and make music, practicing every day. He grounded himself with spiritual practice that connected him to something greater, in his case, his God. It is clear that Fred Rogers was a man of integrity; he had strongly held values and worked hard to have his actions and words match his values. A good role model for us as we explore the spiritual theme of integrity this month.
Mr. Rogers was also a good model for the power of spiritual practice. As we begin a new year, I invite you to notice how you are doing with feeling grounded and connected to something greater (whatever that may be for you.) How is your spiritual practice?
This looks to be a year of challenges on so many fronts. If we are to thrive, we need to remember that we are whole and connected. It’s not always easy; there’s a reason it’s called practice.
I wish you a grounded and connected new year.