the kindness of strangers…yet strangers no more

In Uncategorized on June 4, 2009 at 10:06 pm

It is about 10:30 at night. Right now I am sitting on a small single bed, typing and listening to the rain fall outside. Beside me on the floor is the suitcase that I have been living out of for going on three weeks. Across the room is a picture of a girl I have never met. Her name is Elizabeth, and it is her bed I am sleeping in.

I came to DC this week to take a class on public policy and advocacy. While I have learned a lot in the class, I have learned a lot more about kindness and generosity. On Sunday night after class I asked the women, none of whom I knew, if someone could give me a ride to the metro. One woman, Ann, told me she could. Ann did not take me to the metro though; she drove me all the way to my hotel. Looking back I am so thankful because I was actually confused about my metro stop and would have wound up lost in a not so good part of town. I was also sick at the time, which would have added to my misery. So I get to my hotel…and it is the first Comfort Inn I have stayed in that has a bullet proof window lining the reception desk. Needless to say this did not make me feel more at home. I felt even less so when later that night I started feeling light headed and nauseous every time I stood up.

So Monday morning I head into class and some of my classmates from DC ask about my hotel. I tell them about it and what part of town it is in. A woman named Barbara looks at me and tells me to check out of my hotel the next morning and come stay with her. She then tells me that the previous night when she heard about me being by myself she put her daughters sheets in the laundry in preparation for me to stay there. The thought of staying with someone was comforting since I was sick and my hotel was slightly scary, but definitely lonely. So Tuesday morning I checked out of the Landover Comfort Inn and went to stay with Barbara, her husband Scott, her daughter Lindsey who is home from college for the summer, and Cal the golden retriever who is my new best friend. Their daughter Elizabeth, whose room I am occupying, is currently studying abroad in China and so I cannot meet her.

I have felt overwhelmed, challenged, and encouraged by this family’s  kindness and generosity. All week long they have taken care of me. I have been fed great food. They have taken steps to make vegetarian options for me. I have eaten dinner at the table with them each night. We have talked and laughed together. It is amazing how friendship happens. With them it was instant. It happened on the metro. Over dinner. Over bad reality tv. Over a glass of wine. Over the dog. Over an ear piercing that did not want to come out. It has not just been this family though that has shown me this kindness and openness. Every morning one of Barbara’s friends has let us carpool in with her and her daughter to DC where she drops us off at Union Station. We have rode together and talked for just two morning and yet tonight I found myself sitting in a restaurant having a celebratory drink with her and her husband over the news that his colonoscopy was clear a year after he battled colon cancer. It was a beautiful moment that I was generously invited into.

I do not think that I will ever forget this week of my life. It has been such a sweet gift. Barbara’s home has such a peace to it. I have spent time sitting outside in their beautiful garden. I have wrapped my arms around Cal and buried my head into his silky hair and felt so appreciated. For my third straight week of being out of town God has blessed my weary heart with a place that feels almost like home. Last night as I laid in bed I was talking to God about all of this and how overwhelmed I was by it. God simply reminded me that he/she loves me a great deal and this was one of the ways I was shown it. 

And with that I am out of words except to say that I cannot wait to return to my real home tomorrow evening and that I hope Phil and I will have chances to return the blessing I was given this week to others.

be blessed friends. good night.

  1. Awww….. that whole post almost makes me want to cry. That was one of the reasons that I wanted to buy a home… so that we could in turn bless others through it. I’m glad that you were blessed with Barbara and her family… You and Phil are welcome for sleepovers anytime:-)
    ps- Glad you’re home!

    • Thanks Shawn. You and Adam’s hospitality is something that I respect and appreciate the most about you guys. You do a great job of loving people in the way you are always willing to open up your home. Plus you give us a great bed to sleep in 🙂

  2. Joy!

    Love the blog and love your heart. What an awesome experience to have had.

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