What I’m Grateful For: People Who Uphold “a Different Vision of Who We Are as a Country”

For Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde, gratitude means constantly "seeking out the good."

Photograph of Budde by Jeff Elkins

This article is part of Washingtonian‘s feature “Gratitude.” We asked dozens of notable Washingtonians as well as our readers: What are you most grateful for? Read some of their responses here.

Mariann Edgar Budde

Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, who publicly condemned President Trump for posing with a Bible in front of St. John’s Church in June

When President Trump cleared Lafayette Square to use St. John’s as a photo op, there was a lot of anger and pain. How did you find healing and gratitude after that?

That was a very troubling period, and we were trying to be a presence of calm and solidarity and love in the midst of all that. Where the gratitude came from, for me, was the overwhelming response from people all across the country. I have stacks of cards and letters from people who were grateful for a witness who spoke of a rightful use of our sacred texts, and [who had] a willingness to hold up a different vision of who we are as a country.

What is gratitude to you?

It’s not simply a response to the nice things that happen but a disciplined way of living your life so that we are constantly observing and seeking out the good. So that we aren’t overwhelmed by sadness or evil but we remind ourselves through daily practices that there is a source of goodness and love in a world that is stronger than hate, stronger than meanness, stronger than evil.

Jane Recker
Assistant Editor

Jane is a Chicago transplant who now calls Cleveland Park her home. Before joining Washingtonian, she wrote for Smithsonian Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times. She is a graduate of Northwestern University, where she studied journalism and opera.