Faith in Strangers

At the farmer’s market last week, I bought some Yukon Gold potatoes from a young woman at one of the produce stands. She was wearing a t-shirt with a cool graphic and the words, “Faith in Strangers” written on it. I can’t remember the graphic right now. What I was so enamored of were the bold words “Faith in Strangers”. What a wonderful belief system for her to promote, that was my thought. Turns out “Faith in Strangers” wasn’t her philosophy but a Seattle-based band made up of “the nicest boys you’d ever want to meet”. Her words. When I came home I googled the group and they looked like nice enough guys. Because I loved the name of the group so much, I thought I might like their music. That wasn’t meant to be. When I downloaded a couple of sample songs, their music made my teeth hurt. Speed metal is how I would describe it, though I’m not hip enough to really know what speed metal is. The fact I just used the word “hip” should in itself tell you that. I was momentarily disappointed and then realized I don’t have to love their music to love their name. Too often I think most of us are more than a little leery of strangers. Sometimes it’s their demeanor, sometimes their skin color, sometimes their clothing, sometimes nothing more than the fact that they’re strangers. But we’re strangers to them as well. It’s naive to think “everyone is just a friend we haven’t met” but I love Blanche DuBois’s line “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.” When I was about seven, my sister worked at the theater in our small town and she let me into movies for free. I saw “South Pacific” at least eight times. I still love these Rogers and Hammerstein lyrics:

You’ve got to be taught to hate and fear,
You’ve got to be taught from year to year,
It’s got to be drummed in your dear little ear—
You’ve got to be carefully taught!

You’ve got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a different shade—
You’ve got to be carefully taught.

You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate—
You’ve got to be carefully taught!
You’ve got to be carefully taught!


James Taylor has a great version of this song that YouTube won’t let me download here. Look for it there.                             (You’re welcome for today’s ear worm.)


Photo courtesy Willgard on


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