January 14, 2013 § 1 Comment
The truth is, church often makes me cry. Tear up is a better description. You see in church, I always think of my grandmother, or I am moved by the music, or the children, or a funny story the minister has told. Yes, our minister makes us laugh—often. But mainly, I tear up realizing how lucky I am. It is something I don’t ever take for granted—leading a charmed life—but, it comes into greater light as I sit in church.
Last Sunday, it hit me hard. When I sat down, I noticed a young person sitting on the pew in front of me. At first glance, I immediately noticed their funky wool felt jacket, gold tone watch and headband. From my view, there was an urban chicness to their look. As the service went on, this person moved down the pew to allow a late comer to sit and I noticed their camo cargo pants. Another hip, chic element to their outfit I thought—military touches, and more recently camo, have often graced the runways. But moments later, other things came into view. First, the hands. Nails were painted, but the majority of the paint had worn off. And the hands were dirty. Not the dirt that we have occasionally, but the kind that seems to have become part of their skin, like paint. And then their collar. Not a little ring, but dirt that had settled into the raised portions of their puckered cotton collar. And then, their faint scent got me. You know the one. It is earthy and gritty and a bit like sweet sweat. It finally hit me that they might be homeless. I teared up.
There I was, debating if I would go to church that morning, not getting myself dressed fast enough and my ponytail just wasn’t getting into place. And there they were, in church, on time and likely thankful for a cushioned seat. And as I watched them dose off a bit, I imagine they were also thankful for a warm place.
It was a communion Sunday and as I followed them down to the front for the sacrament, the tears kept coming. Such a small piece of bread and a small dip of wine. What else would this person eat today, I thought. After taking their communion, they knelt at the alter and prayed. Tears were stronger now as I made my way back to my seat.
At the end of service, the collection plates were passed and without hesitation, they pulled out a rumpled dollar, held it with pride and placed it in the plate as it passed. That’s when the crying started.
As we stood to sing and the ushers made their way to the alter to present the offering, I looked down onto the pew in front of me where this person sat and there it was. Their collection cup. A small gathering of change in the bottom. My suspicions confirmed—the crying continued.
I am so often lost for the right thing to do in a situation like this. But knew that a smile goes a long way with me, so I did just that each time they looked my way.
I’ve always said there is a reason I chose the church I attend. It is welcoming and led by the most down to earth, progressive and intelligent minister I’ve ever met. It’s open to all cultures, backgrounds, races, sexual orientations and is a wonderful representation of our diverse city. And that Sunday was a powerful and moving example of that diversity. How wonderful that they felt, hopefully, as comfortable there, as I do.
November 4, 2012 § 2 Comments
Isn’t it curious, that a lot of people who preach tolerance aren’t tolerant at all. They scream and rant that anyone who doesn’t believe their way is stupid, uneducated and wait—intolerant. It seems to me that if you request people be open to your ideas, you should offer the same respect. We may not agree, but shouldn’t we at least give people the courtesy to listen to why they think differently? And shouldn’t we reserve calling them names or derogatory adjectives just because they think differently that we do?
Perhaps, this intolerance contributes to our political problems. Weren’t we all taught to work together, to compromise, to share and find some common ground? Or realize that we are not always right? Yes, some of these issues are personal, but stop and think, perhaps they are just as personal to the person on the other side.
Now of course, I am talking about things that don’t hurt others. I am certainly not open to being tolerant of ideals or actions that kill, torture or otherwise cause harm.
With the passing of Letitia Baldrige this past week, I am reminded of how civil she was and what grace she showed in every situation. Perhaps we all need a little more grace these days.
I’d say all of us could be a lot more tolerant if we were just that—tolerant.
October 27, 2012 § Leave a Comment
I’ve never been into vampires. The whole Twilight thing escapes me. But, Dracula, by The Washington Ballet stopped my heart. In a good way.
The opening performance of their season is a dark, haunting and captivating look at this tortured soul. I will admit, given my aversion to vampires, I was curious if I would enjoy the performance. Would the “vampire” take over the show? Well, yes he did, but in a good way. Sitting at the back of the orchestra section I could still see the whites of Dracula’s eyes. His movements were forceful but quiet, strong yet slithery, commanding and subtle. And the bites were mostly implied and not forceful or violent.
And while it is a ballet, it is much more than that—which is now what I’ve come to expect from The Washington Ballet. There was just as much acting as dancing in this company premier. Septime, the Artistic Director, is right; it’s ballet with a bite.
September 22, 2012 § 2 Comments
I love a good book. And by that, I mean these:
For the most part, I am totally on board with being more electronic. I keep my laptop close and my iPhone closer. I love having almost everything I need in a hand-held device and am beyond ready to ditch my wallet and have everything on my phone. But, one paper thing I am not ready to get rid of are books—magazines, catalogs, glossies. The thicker, the better.
I smile the minute I open my mailbox and see them there. I adore the big, beautiful images, the ads (guess we know where that landed me) and holding one in the palm of my hands. They are stacked high in my bed, on my floor and on my nightstand. I’ve tried reading them online and it just isn’t the same. Online they aren’t as inspiring, as interesting, or as captivating. So I buy them, subscribe to them and give them as gifts.
Perhaps it isn’t my most environmentally sound practice. Yes, I will recycle them, but first, send them to me as they should arrive—in all of their printed glory.
September 11, 2012 § 2 Comments
Every campaign season, it is the same thing.
Yes, each party usually carries the same broken-record message and rhetoric. And that is annoying. Yet, what I am really talking about is how they both point the finger at Washington.
- We have to clean up Washington!
- What’s wrong with Washington?
- Washington is broken!
Let me tell everyone who utters these phrases, there is nothing wrong with Washington. The city is beautiful, clean, cultural, artistic, historical and so much more. It is a magical place to work, live and visit.
Yes, we have issues, as a city, to address like ridiculous politicians of our own, people who can’t follow traffic signals when they are walking or driving, and our school system still needs major attention. But. This city is NOT all about politics! There is so much more. Just two weeks ago, Destination DC announced that tourism is about to topple the Federal Government as the largest industry here. My industry—advertising—contributes 21.3% of the economic output and supports 12.9% of the jobs in the greater DC area.*
So, whether you are left, right or center, watch your language. The administration, congress, politicians and politics in general may need fixing. The people who come here to run the Federal Government may need a new attitude or may need to go.
But, Washington, is just fine!* study by IHS Global Insight
August 5, 2012 § 2 Comments
I’ve had a lot of writer’s block lately.
Not at work. Frankly at work, I’ve been cranking out a lot of writing over the last month. But in my personal life—finding just what I want to say here has been hard.
I guess it is something we all go through—the stuck, I’ll call it. Certainly there have been a lot of things on my mind, a lot of inspiration floating around and fun things I could share, but the creative juices just haven’t been flowing. And I just can’t figure out why. Life is good, my friends and family are great, my garden looks fantastic and I’ve been enjoying the beautiful summer weather.
Dwelling on it likely isn’t going to help. But I am hoping just putting it out there will un-stick, the stuck. Kind of like announcing “I can’t find my keys”—somehow that magically makes them reappear.
May 7, 2012 § 2 Comments
I love to ski. But perhaps not for the reasons everyone else does. I love the peace and serenity I find on the mountain. Just standing there at the top, I realize how small I am—in a good way. It grounds me and shows me that in the grand scheme of life my worries aren’t all that big.
For other people, it is the number of runs or the speed they can find on the way down. For me, it is the enjoyment of every turn and the view along the way. Sure, on a few runs I like to test myself, pick up some speed and feel the wind on my face but, on others the slow road works just fine.
On a recent trip out west, I found myself just sitting on the side of the mountain one day. I’d gone with a group of ten but had ventured off on my own to try some runs that looked interesting to me. As I got to the start of one, I just plopped down. There was a situation with a friend that was really bothering me and I needed to work it out. So, I took off my skis and stuck my poles in the snow. Just sat. And thought.
In spite of a mountain full of skiers, for me it is one of the best places to find solitude. And that day on the mountain was probably one of the best thinking sessions I’ve ever had. And, yes, I figured out what I needed to do in the situation with the friend.
There is a real clarity for me being on the mountain. No other distractions. Just me and the mountain.