February 25, 2009

Hope And A Handshake

My husband was on a photo assignment in D.C. last week and while he and his assistant were setting up in an office in the White House he had an unexpected visitor. It was just the two of them in the room when the door opened slightly and in peeked President Obama. He was looking for the resident of the office (the subject my husband would be photographing), and when he noticed that she wasn't there he stuck around long enough to introduce himself to the two sweaty photographers and shake their hands. Then he was on his way to a meeting in the next room. My husband said it was one of the most amazing experiences, because here you have the President of the USA meandering in and out of offices looking for a colleague and taking moments out of his day to chat it up with two random photogs who happened to be in his path, all the while exuding an air of absolute control and leadership, the kind that leaves you knowing that we are in good hands. He said that the handshake was exactly as he had hoped - firm and quick but with full eye contact and a complete sense that he actually did want to be shaking his hand at that moment. The shoot went on as planned and Mike returned to NY the next day with heightened confidence that we are indeed in good hands.

Last night we watched together as the President addressed Congress. It's the first time we'd hear him talk about changes he's made and progress on projects rather than just goal setting and planning. It was the first time in ages that I felt myself listening so intently to a televised speech, following along with every word in an attempt garner meaning from every single phrase. I actually felt uplifted, encouraged, and as though the speech was written to speak to the majority of the populace - just regular folks like us living their lives and trying not to make too many mistakes along the way. His speech on Inauguration Day was inspiring, but to listen to him actually working, actually changing, and really doing brought me to a whole new level of captivation by his words.

This post wasn't intended to be an all-glorifying Ode to Obama, I promise that's not where my mind was going with this. It honestly just felt good to feel hopeful. With everything that's going on around us and nearly everyone really feeling the impact of it, I mean really feeling it, it was nice to hear the sound of confidence. His handshake left my husband excited for what's to come, and his voice of hope gave me the best night of sleep I've had in a long time.


Julie said...

Wow. How incredibly cool.

Meg DeZutti said...

Steve (my cousin, Steve Inskeep of NPR) meet lots of big important folks but was most impressed w/ Pres. Obama because of his absolute sincerity. He WANTED to be there, he WANTED to have that conversation, and he MEANT every word of it.

Kerri said...

How totally cool!!!

courtney rose said...

How awesome is that?!

Again. I'm so jealous of Mike and Jo. And Ashton.

PC said...

I agree and urge everyone to follow his lead. Write your senators and congresspeople and tell them to become part of a solution. Obama is reaching out to everyone and it's time to stop the old school party politics. WE have the tool to do that, our VOTE. I urge everyone to put their elected representatives on notice, now!