I’ll admit it – I wasn’t overly excited to see the film A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. But it was recommended to me by a good friend, and I figured it had to be worth watching.
For those who don’t know, the film is based on the relationship which developed between Fred Rogers and Tom Junod, a reporter sent to interview the iconic Mister Rogers for Esquire in 1998. Rogers, as probably everyone reading this knows, is played by Tom Hanks; Junod’s character, here re-named Lloyd Vogel, is portrayed by Welsh actor Matthew Rhys.
Well, I am glad I did see it – there are so many worthwhile takeaways – not least, the acting of both principals.
But what impressed me most was watching this strange friendship develop – the smart, flip-hip urban reporter, wearing cynicism like a feather in his cap, and the soft-voiced, mild-mannered host of an immensely popular children’s television show.
The reporter thinks Rogers cannot be true; Rogers thinks the reporter is worth enlightening. And both are willing to explore this. Chance encounters can lead to life-changing experiences, as the reporter finds.
The reporter finds Mister Rogers is real – despite his initial unwillingness to think so. Fred Rogers has done him a service in broadening his mind and perspective. And gained grace himself by doing so, as well as an honest and sympathetic portrait in the magazine in question.
A mutual benefit.
This is not to say we should make a point of intimately befriending every single person who comes into our lives – we’d never have the time to be a real friend to anyone at all. But if we’re open and sensitive to the person we can really help, the person who can really help us, or both at once, we can find great enrichment.
Think of your best friends – how have you met them? What if you hadn’t met them that day, in that circumstance? How would you have found each other? Would you have given them time to become friends at all?
So much of the beauty in life depends on our being open to it – let’s guard our time and hearts, sure, so that we don’t short-change the people we already value, but let’s be open to seeing when the investment of both is worthwhile.
What unexpected encounters have been life-changers for you?
Please click here to email me directly – I would love to hear your stories!
Until next Wednesday –