Beliefnet
A Touch of Encouragement

kindness of strangers.jpgHello, Friends!
I hope you have enjoyed hearing Keb’ Mo’s beautiful song. It won’t hurt to hear it again and perhaps pass it along to a friend today!
You may notice that there is not a new video posted today. My husband and I received a surprise invitation to attend the inauguration and, never having seen an inauguration before, we made a last-minute trip to Washington, D.C. to witness a piece of history.
I apologize to those of you who were expecting a new video. But I’m happy to share a few non-partisan thoughts about our week in Washington. Most inspiring to me, for example, were the clear expressions of faith and goodwill extended from person to person and stranger to stranger as I walked down the streets and rode the subways of our nation’s capital.


Since Jon and I were serious latecomers to the inaugural festivities, transportation and lodging were significant challenges. We stayed with wonderful friends who opened up their guest room and we took the Metro into DC from Alexandria, Virginia. As “Hollywood producers” there was a time we would have had the limo and the suite at the Four Seasons. But times, as we all know, change. And there was something absolutely right about stepping onto the Metro in my high heels and ball gown and chatting with folks from all over the country on the way into Washington on Inaugural Night.
On the other hand, Inaugural Night had its challenges…..
Trying to find the right train was simplified by the generous explanations and directions of a Chinese musician in a tuxedo who was going our way and preparing to perform at one of the events.
On the Metro, I sat next to an African American lady and her son from Tennessee who had ridden up with her church group. They’d become separated, gotten on the wrong train, lost contact with the church. And to top it all off, she’d wrenched her back. Well, by the time we hit the Pentagon station, we were holding hands and praying for her!
The Metro wouldn’t stop at the Convention Center where the ball was because of security so we had to get off in Chinatown and walk. A gay couple, two young Washington professional fundraisers, insisted on walking us the six blocks to the Inaugural Ball before they left for their own event. A Muslim couple sat next to us that evening and offered us a place to stay in their home that night in case a dearth of taxis and an excess of Metro closures prevented us from returning to Alexandria when the ball ended in the early morning hours.
The entire evening was a testimony to our complete reliance on the kindness of strangers and as testimony as well to the touching reminder that such kindness is found in hearts of every color, faith, and persuasion.
Most evident to me all week was not a sense of a Democrat victory but of something that Democrats and Republicans alike kept repeating to us in one way or another – we all have so much ahead of us to deal with that we’d better start working together to accomplish it.
How appropriate that the week began with an emphasis on volunteerism and community service. It may ultimately manifest itself in various forms of individual commitment to one organization or another. But we saw it at its most simple and perhaps most powerful on the sidewalks of Washington in the middle of the night.
I went to Washington this week out of sheer curiosity and the nagging sense that if I didn’t accept the invitation, I’d be sorry. I always wanted to have that memory, to be able to say someday that I had seen a President take the oath of office. As it was, although we managed to get to one of the inaugural balls, I never made it to the actual inaugural ceremony. Nevertheless, I came away with something that may last much longer than a memory – I came away with friends.
Love to all,
Martha

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