If Arthur Miller met Mr. Rogers?

Each day I rise and graze broadly and deeply in faith and culture. Today’s early morning Bible reading was in the book of Esther where Mordecai is exalted and Haman is hanged. Good will prevail and evildoers will pay.

Then turning to Esquire magazine I find the search for God book-ended by reflections on God by literary giant Arthur Miller and reflections on Mr. Rogers walk with God by an Esquire writer-at-large Tom Junod.

In the “What I have Learned” column Miller reflects on what he has learned about God.

“I don’t believe in the afterlife. I don’t believe there is a God. The whole thing is accidental. Whenever I hear somebody’s in touch with God, I look for the exit.”

Tom Junod, eulogizes Mr. Rogers and opens with these observations about everybody’s favorite neighbor.

“Fred Rogers woke up every morning at five o’clock and prayed for nearly two hours for people he loved. He loved so many people and so many people loved him that I could never imagine the form his prayers took, but I knew that he prayed for me, and for my wife, and for members of my wife’s family whom he had never met and whom he knew only through what I had told him in my phone calls and e-mails.

I wrote about Fred for Esquire in 1998. People were always amazed when I said that Fred and I had stayed in touch after my story that we spoke on the phone a couple of times a year and that Fred had written me well over 100 e-mails but once you entered into Fred’s life, well, there was no doubt that he would enter into yours. He was not only the kindest man I’d ever met but also one of the most fiercely disciplined, to the degree that he saw nothing but the good in other human beings. When he saw the good in me, he fixed on it, and there was a never a moment in which he didn’t try to make me live up to it, by word, or by example, or, most often, by prayer.”

I have no inside information about Arthur Miller’s spiritual journey, his encounter with religion or religious people, but I do wonder what might have happened if he had met Mr. Rogers. And I wonder if the flow of my daily life, my words, my example and my prayers, leaves a Miller or a Junod in its wake.

‚©2003 Dick Staub, CRS Communications

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