My wife and I saw It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood this weekend. It is a marvelous movie that leaves you full of hope. How we need hope.
That led me to look for the article that inspired the movie. It is a 1998 Esquire piece by Tom Junod. It’s well worth the read as well.
A particular part of a paragraph deep in the story struck me. It was a thought I felt that was also driven home by the 2018 documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor.
Junod wrote this:
He is losing, of course. The revolution he started—a half hour a day, five days a week—it wasn’t enough, it didn’t spread, and so, forced to fight his battles alone, Mister Rogers is losing, as we all are losing. He is losing to it, to our twenty-four-hour-a-day pie fight, to the dizzying cut and the disorienting edit, to the message of fragmentation, to the flicker and pulse and shudder and strobe, to the constant, hivey drone of the electroculture…and yet still he fights, deathly afraid that the medium he chose is consuming the very things he tried to protect: childhood and silence.
For all the hope we have when we watch a story about Mr. Rogers, we’re still consumed by a fragmented world where we build our echo chambers, slam our lives full of the noise of things we like, and allow hate and envy and bitterness and frustration to build.
We have hope… but we’re losing.
Only… are we?
While the roar of social media seems to get louder every day, there is a quiet revolution going on. And that’s why there is hope. It is a quiet revolution. It is not flashy. It is not being documented for an Instagram post. It is not “war by meme” as some people seem to be bent on waging these days.
I think of Mr. Rogers. I think of my personal hero, Dallas Willard. Men who lived simply and influenced thousands. Those folks walk this life in a different way. Their triumph isn’t measured by Twitter followers or likes on Facebook.
We do indeed have hope. And, beyond what the crazy media and social media of our time may like… we are indeed winning.
We still fight. We do not give up.
For these heroes I give thanks.