Blog 1042 – 07.03.2018
My Perfect Weight
I had the privilege on Sunday to see a documentary movie at the theater called, “Would You Be My Neighbor?” Usually I am not a great fan of documentaries with few exceptions and this was definitely one. Fred Rogers began his long running PBS series Mr. Rogers Neighborhood while I was a senior in high school, fifty years ago. I, as a soon to be eighteen year old, did not watch his show. But just a few years later working in two large church children’s ministries I met many children whose lives had been touched and made better by Mister Rogers. Although himself an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church, Fred never preached at the children and he never talked about Jesus. He did far better, let me quote one of his sons, saying “that growing up with his dad was like living with another Jesus.”
Fred was a sickly child, isolated, who spent a lot of time in bed and had to learn to occupy his mind. He never lost touch with the lonely child he had been and made it his mission in life to make sure the children he met in person, and he met thousands, and the even millions he met through the medium of television, knew that they were accepted and loved just as they were. Nothing brings out the best in children and in all of us better than that. Criticism no matter how well intentioned stunts development and creativity.
When you focus a heart of love like that it can be scary and misunderstood by adults but not children. They see through phonies and Fred Rogers was the real deal. He spoke his heart and talked to children about the real and sometimes scary issues of life. He made a difference because he was uniquely different but of the same heart as the children he spoke to best. When asked what the 143 prominently displayed on his Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood set meant, he explained that the 1 stood the one letter word – I, 4 stood for the four letter word – Love, and that 3 stood for the three letter word – You. He swam a mile in a city pool every day to maintain the weight that he had been all of his adult life, 143 lbs, and to remind him that his always underlying message to the child in all of us was, “I Love You.”
A bit kooky, crazy perhaps but so inspiring at the same time. I have wanted to find my perfect weight for a long time. All my high school years and when I graduated I weighed 155 lbs. I actually put on a little weight the eleven months I spent in Vietnam. Because my first wife said she had found someone else while I was gone and trying desperately tried to convince her that neither he nor any other man would ever love her as much or be as good to her as I would, while on leave for a month when I returned stateside, I lost that weight that I had put on and some I could not afford to lose. By the time I made it to my last Army post, Fort Bragg I weight 143 lbs. soaking wet. I was an even more pitiful specimen than I had been with my shaved head Sad Sack homesick look in Basic Training.
Unlike Fred my perfect weight is not 143 lbs. but I think more like 163 lbs. 1 = the one letter word – I, 6 = one of two six letter words – Admire or Mirror, and 3 = the three letter word – You. I intend to achieve that perfect weight by my 68th birthday, this November 22nd and maintain it for the next twenty-two to thirty-seven years if I get to have them. And to stay that weight to remind myself that my mission much like Fred’s was, is to mirror back at you the very best that I see in you, to truly show you how much and what I admire most about you. I believe we see ourselves in others, and I want you to see the very best of you reflected back at you always.
For some time I have consciously tried to put a look of love in my eyes and the sound of love in my voice for everyone I meet and greet. When I refer to myself as your friend and fellow traveler I mean that with all of my heart. I finally got to where I could sing Lonestars’ song Not A Day Goes By without choking on the tears. I am not ashamed to cry, fact is so many wonderful things touch me enough to wet my eyes. This song did and does. Whether it makes you cry or not I hope it touches your heart and that you are reminded what it is to love and to be loved like that, for you, we all do, and are.
Your friend and fellow traveler,
Not A Day Goes By