I was listening to an interview with Francois Clemmons. He is not exactly a household name, but he was a household face across America for 25 years as he played Officer Clemmons on Mister Rogers Neighborhood.
In the interview he talked about the misgivings he had for years about playing a police officer, even for Mr. Rogers, because of the widespread police brutality he had seen as a child. He then described how moved he was during the now famous episode where Mr. Rogers invited Officer Clemmons to cool off his feet in a baby pool with him.
At the time there was nationwide turmoil about blacks using “white” public swimming pools, so this was a friendly but very pointed Mr. Rogers lesson about racism and prejudice. As they were filming, before Francois realized it, here was Fred Rogers bending down to dry off his feet with a towel. It was a simple act of humble service which deeply touched his heart.
Later, he related an ordinary episode filming day that had an even more profound impact on him. He was standing off camera watching the typical end of the episode filming where Mr. Rogers hangs up his sweater and says, “You make every day a special day just by being you, and I like you just the way you are.” Francois remembered,
“I was looking at him when he was saying that, and he walked over to where I was standing. And I said, “Fred, were you talking to me?” And he said, “Yes, I’ve been talking to you for years. But you heard me today.””
Hearing that sweet story brought tears to my eyes. Still does. Because that’s not only how the love and patience of Fred Rogers worked, but that’s how the love and patience of God works in each one of our lives.
Every day God is speaking to us, in soft whispers, in the beauty of the world, in the kindness of a stranger, in the arms of a friend. And He is saying, “You make every day a special day just by being you, and I like you just the way you are.”
You know, God has been talking to you for years. He is talking to you today. Will today be the day that you hear Him?