TIM MADIGAN: Anything Mentionable — Ten Years of ‘I’m Proud Of You’

“I’m Proud of You: My Friendship with Fred Rogers,” was first published 10 years ago this August. These seem like good days to reread it — for the first time. Also, there have been some significant challenges this year for the people I love, and for me, and, frankly, I just want to see him again and hear his voice. I’ll share some here as read.

The book begins in another difficult season, the holidays of 1997, when I confessed to Fred something that caused great pain and shame. Could he be proud of a man like that? As many of you know, this is how he responded:

“Tim, please know that I will never forsake you, that I will never be disappointed with you, that I will never stop loving you. How I wish we could be closer geographically! I’d get in my car drive to your house, knock on your door, and, when you answered I’d hug you tight.

“You are a beautiful person inside and out, and those who care about you are privileged to share your pain. … As for suffering; I believe that there are fewer people that ever who can escape major suffering in this life. In fact, I’m fairly convinced that the Kingdom of God is for the broken-hearted.

“Our trust and affection run very deep. You know you are in my prayers — now and always. If you ever need me you have only to call and I would do my best to get to you, or you to me.

“You are my beloved brother, Tim. You are God’s beloved son.”

This at the moment of my greatest shame. There was indeed a man such as this who walked among us.

(Ten years of “IPOY,” a celebration, featuring the music of Kyle Redd. Come join us on Sept. 6 for a night of love and song at the Live Oak Music Hall in Fort Worth, Texads (www.theliveoak.com.) Doors open at 7, program at 7:30. It’s free!)

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