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The office of the president changed hands today.

My instinct was to wear all black, but in the spirit of hope, I wore a white and blue Aloha shirt with my black pants.

I tried not to think too hard about the Inauguration on my two-mile walk to a lunch meeting, but I hadn’t eaten all day for fear of not being to keep down food. As soon as I saw colleagues, though, my appetite returned.

A good friend has told me that now is the time for artists, conservationists, people who believe in Civil Rights, faith leaders and others to speak their truth, much like the peaceful Monday demonstrations in East Germany in 1989 to 1991.

At least for me, those kinds of demonstrations are flavored by romanticism and idealism, by a desire for community and a sense that they are helping change the world for the better. Frequently, they have.

I look at the United States today, admittedly living in a state where I have found a great deal of respect for differences, and wonder in a nation so divided, how do we reach out to each other, build bridges over a deep political divide?

I am processing. I want to be hopeful. I’m sure this is far too easy an answer, but doesn’t it start right at home in our schools and neighborhoods and spread to include our states to make us more united?

I was heartened earlier this week when my daughter’s teacher sent my husband and me this message:

zusammenarbeitneuLook at my little friends. “Jimmy” is explaining how to do our new math problem. He is kind and gentle and Ellen is loving the guidance. 

For privacy, I have changed the name of Ellen’s classmate and cropped the picture. But you can still see “Jimmy’s” hand reaching out to a child with an extra chromosome. They are teaching each other, growing up with each other, one day realizing they are different, but happy to be on the same team and to bring out the best in each other.