Mr. Rogers was a master at holding our hearts, and helping us to hold our own. I would like to think he would have live-streamed for hours on end to provide calm to all. I think he would have encouraged us to sing like those beautiful Italians we’ve all seen, locked down but joining together via open windows through song.
He might have written something very much like this gentle heart-holding piece from Fr. Richard Hendrick, OFM entitled “Lockdown” written only a couple of days ago on March 13, 2020.
“Yes there is fear.
Yes there is isolation.
Yes there is panic buying.
Yes there is sickness.
Yes there is even death.
But, they say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise,
you can hear the birds again.
They say that after just a few weeks of quiet,
the sky is no longer thick with fumes,
but blue and grey and clear.
They say that in the streets of Assisi
people are singing to each other
across the empty squares,
keeping their windows open
so that those who are alone
may hear the sounds of family around them.
They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland
is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.
Today a young woman I know
is busy spreading fliers with her number
through the neighbourhood
so that the elders may have someone to call on.
Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples
are preparing to welcome
and shelter the homeless,
the sick, the weary
all over the world people are slowing down and reflecting.
All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way.
All over the world people are waking up to a new reality,
to how big we really are,
to how little control we really have,
to what really matters,
So we pray and we remember that
yes, there is fear,
but there does not have to be hate.
Yes, there is isolation,
but there does not have to be loneliness.
Yes there is panic buying,
but there does not have to be meanness.
Yes, there is sickness,
but there does not have to be disease of the soul.
Yes, there is even death,
but there can always be a rebirth of love.
Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.
Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic.
The birds are singing again.
The sky is clearing.
Spring is coming,
and we are always encompassed by Love.
Open the windows of your soul.
And though you may not be able to touch across the empty square,
Watch for all the great ones like Fr. Richard Hendrick showing up to light our way and inspire us to sing.
Watch for how YOU inspire others to sing and love during this time.
Our circumstances might awaken that little bit of Mr. Rogers inside us all, that longs to be expressed as the song that only we can sing.