I’ve been attending a Bible Study Class based on the movie, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”, starring Tom Hanks. The movie (based on a true story) focuses on the relationship between an angry, cynical reporter and his 1998 interview with Mr. Rogers. The reporter, Tom Junod, had a hard time when he first started interviewing Mr. Rogers believing that any human could be so kind. After following Mr. Rogers around the studio and meeting up with him in a variety of settings, Junod decided that Mr. Rogers was in fact the real deal. The interview eventually made the cover of Esquire Magazine. The title of the article was, “Can you say…Hero?” https://www.esquire.com/entertainment/tv/a27134/can-you-say-hero-esq1198/
The movie is full of nuggets on living a more positive, God centered life. In our Bible study, our minister has been combining stories from the Bible with these little morsels of wisdom. Here are the kernels, I have picked up over the past few weeks:
- Remember all of us, no matter our color, income, beliefs are the same. Everyone was a child once. We all share the human experience. Our hearts should be open to everyone. Each person we meet, no matter what their past experience has something to offer us.
- Be fully present. In the presence of another person, be fully there for them. In our multi-media world, we are busy with our phones or watching TV out of the corner of our eye. But people need our full attention. We need to carefully listen and not be planning our next response. We need to ask questions and fully engage. We fail others when we don’t take the time to provide our best selves in each conversation.
- Get angry. It’s OK to be angry but it’s not OK to take that anger out on others. We can go pound the piano (as Mr. Rogers did) or exercise (Mr. Rogers swam daily) to vent out anger. In the midst of anger, catch a breath, breath in and out, release your anger, and move on.
- Don’t carry resentment, especially from your childhood. Focus on the gift that each family member has given you to make you who you are. Even if you had a horrendous childhood, that childhood helped weld you into a strong adult. Focus on how your childhood made you who you are rather than how bad your past was.
- Pray daily. Keep a list of names and turn them over to God each night. It’s not your job to fix everyone but it is your job to care for everyone who comes across your path. Tom Junod writes about praying with Mr. Rogers in Esquire, “What is grace? I’m not certain; all I know is that my heart felt like a spike, and then, in that room, it opened and felt like an umbrella.” Use prayer to open your heart like an umbrella to help shield the world.
- Be thankful. Every day is a gift God has given us. We are all seekers trying to carry out God’s work on earth. Sometimes we do that well and sometimes we totally fail. But each day we are given another chance to start from scratch at doing better.
- We are all heroes. We may not be celebrities or feel we have special calling. But every single one of us has the potential to help someone else have a better day. Listen for what God is calling you to do. Show up, be kind, be a hero.