On Thanksgiving Day, we went to see A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, the movie about a journalist’s relationship with THE Mister Rogers. Throughout the entire movie tears silently rolled down my cheeks.
When I was young my absolute favorite show was Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. He was constant companion at 5 pm everyday on Maine Public Television. Mr. Rogers spoke directly to me and invited me to be part of his neighborhood. He opened many new opportunities to learn about myself and my feelings and the big world outside my small world. I loved “Picture Picture” and all the movies about how the world worked. Mr. Rogers was kind.
Many graduates of Pittsburgh Seminary have stories about encounters with Mister Rogers. I had several over the years. My favorite remembrance was when my friend Bill and I snuck in late into the back of the room of a special presentation on First Corinthians by retired and “favorite” professor Dr. Orr. A few moments later another person quietly sat down behind us. Bill sneezed. “God bless you” came a quiet voice from behind us. We didn’t need to turn around we knew that Mr. Rogers was sitting directly behind us. Neither Bill nor I really heard Dr. Orr after that. Fred Rogers was right there!
The movie took me back to those turbulent days of my childhood; to one part of each day that was quiet, calm and when an adult spoke to me with kindness. Yes, I cried. They were tears of thankfulness for the ministry of Fred Rogers and for him being there for me.