On our continuing search for historical points of interest in DC, we made our way to the Mary McLeod Bethune Council House.  We parked the car just a few doors away and got out in front of a large brick church.  Loving houses of worship as I do, I couldn’t help but stop to admire the architecture and windows.  I moved to take out my camera when a voice cheerily said “Hello!  How are y’all today?”  The voice came from a lovely young woman who was exiting the church grounds.  She introduced herself, we exchanged pleasantries, and then she wanted to know if we would like to go inside the church.  “Of course!” I answered, never wanting to miss an opportunity to go inside an historic church.

She led us inside, chatting merrily all the while.  We admired the sanctuary, commented on the lovely stained glass and then my husband asked her, “What is your role here?”

She laughed gaily, “Oh, why, I’m a life-time member!  I’ve lived here all my life; been a member here all my life.”  There was some more laughter and with a broad smile and flashing eyes she added, “But recently my role has changed.  I’m now the pastor’s wife.”

We congratulated her and we chatted some more.  She was interested in where we were from and what brought us to DC.  We told her we were following the winds of the Holy Spirit and were on a great adventure to find grace wherever we were.  Today we were on our way to Mary McLeod Bethune’s home. The conversation became more spirited and the laughter infectious.  Her final remark continues to ring in my ears along with her musical laughter, “You know, us children of God, we’re so hardheaded but Jesus will take us and just lead us where he wants us to be.”

We went on to the Mary McLeod Bethume Home and learned about an amazing woman who was a great leader and an inspiration to generations of African-American women — to all women!  After hearing her story and the influence she had, I could not help but think that she must have had a personality like the young pastor’s wife who invited us into her church and into her life for a few moments of conversation and laughter.

Both woman offered me the grace of inspiration yesterday.  Who inspires you?

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