A Heavenly Pair

The loss of Ruth Bader Ginsburg hit me hard. I thought she might go on forever, getting tinier and tinier until she just evaporated. We would never have to say good bye and she would always be with us in some molecular way.  Another such loss came to mind — Fred Rogers who supported and comforted so many through childhood, and in my case, beyond. “I like you just the way you are,” one of his standard good-byes on Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, runs through my mind often when I am feeling flawed, inadequate or just blue.

Both have had a lot of coverage in recent months with movies, both documentary and fictionalized, of their lives. Perhaps that’s why they are so vivid for me, and why I link them in my mind. Their message to all of us, whether from the bench or from the neighborhood, was to treat each other  and ourselves with compassion and humanity, to fight injustice, and to strive to make the world — family, community, country, planet, however much you want to tackle — a better place. They modeled in their lives conviction, perseverance, humility, strength, curiosity and humor. I cannot think of a better recipe for being human.

 I don’t know if RBG was ever on Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood TV show but I can imagine they would be great friends. I am not a religious person, but I sometimes fantasize about heaven. Perhaps the two of them are smiling and chatting, she in her workout sweats, he in his cardigan sweater, reminiscing about the tough times they witnessed and sending us – all of us —  compassion and encouragement for the crisis we face.


I leave you with their own words:

From Ruth Bader Ginsburg:

“Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”

“Don’t be distracted by emotions like anger, envy, resentment. These just sap energy and waste time.”


From Fred Rogers:

“Often when you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else.”

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

And finally, this is a remarkable piece of theater. Fred Rogers argues for public television funding in front of congress, and wins!

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