It doesn’t take long being around me to know that I love Mr. Rogers. There are other saints who speak into my life as well, but this one has been with me from childhood. As a child of the 80’s, I have vivid memories of sitting down - at my house, at the babysitters, at my grandparents - to watch Mr. Rogers. It was as if he was speaking right through the television to me. As I grew up, my appreciation went even deeper, as I admired him as a fellow pastor who was commissioned to a ministry of presence.
I was recently sharing this with some folks in my congregation, only to have one recommend to me a podcast about Fred Rogers from iheart radio that I hadn’t heard yet - Finding Fred. The content is fantastic and I have recommended it to several people as well, but the commercials…
Oh, the commercials, friends. Now, I am an avid podcast listeners and I am used to having breaks in shows for advertisements. No problem. However, due to what I can only consider to be interesting editing choices, the commercials in Finding Fred, don’t come only at the commercial breaks, but in the middle of quotations, stories and even sentences.
For any of you who are used to the tone and pacing of Mr. Rogers, you know that it is slow and gentle, quiet even. The host of the podcast does this as well. So to have such a tenderness interrupted by Mario Lopez shouting (about cars maybe?) is jarring to say the least.
But isn’t that true of the contemplative life and posture as well? That we can be so deeply in that tender, gentle, quiet space that it seems jarring to step back into the flashes of light and sound in the world.
Who helps to invite you into contemplative spaces and protect them for you from the jarring noise and flashiness of the world?
Michelle is a Spiritual Director and End of Life Doula. She is the founder of Abide in the Spirit.
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