The Rev. Fred Rogers, “Mr. Rogers,” was a man of understanding and compassion. He once wrote: “I believe that appreciation is a holy thing — that when we look for what's best in a person we happen to be with at the moment, we're doing what God does all the time. So, in loving and appreciating our neighbor, we're participating in something sacred.”

Feeling truly appreciated, in a very real way, strengthens relationships, gives us a sense of happiness and a feeling that we are valued. Many of us can find this in our jobs, with our friends and our families.

However, there are others who are inwardly suffering from spiritual and emotional poverty.

Poverty like this changes us. Confidence, courage, dreams, and ultimately, love, can suffer and bring us down to the ground zero of a bare soul.

Our loving God understands the distress of those who live in poverty, the hopelessness of our neighbors, and the chasm between human beings.

In our small slice of this world, there is economic poverty. In Ketchikan, the numbers show that about 10% of us are living below the federal poverty level and many of those are children. Economic poverty can result in spiritual poverty. Dependence on others can chisel away at self-worth and self-reliance. All of us need to feel meaning and purpose.

Spiritual poverty can become an empty place of no hope — a hollow feeling of isolation, sadness and loss. What is it like to not be touched, hugged, befriended, loved? In other words, poverty in body, mind and spirit.

But Our Creator tells us we are loved so very much. St. Paul gets to the point: Nothing can stop God from loving us. Nothing.

Writer and theologian Michael Yaconelli puts it this way: “In modern language you could say “neither failure nor poor church attendance, nor inadequate Bible reading and prayer, nor betrayal, denial, doubt, insecurity, guilt, weakness, bad theology, or even losing our temper can separate us from the love of God.”

Hope is not a noun but an action word that transforms. Hope brings us peace of mind, calms our spirit, and helps us endure with patience. The late Fred Rogers captured hope’s essence; he called them “twinklings.”

Twinklings, he wrote, are “moments when we human beings can say ‘I love you,’ ‘I'm proud of you,’ ‘I forgive you,’ ‘I'm grateful for you.’ That's what eternity is made of — invisible imperishable good stuff.”

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Margie Adams, MA, is the staff chaplain at PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center.

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Perspectives is a regular column sponsored and written by members of the Ketchikan Ministerial Association.