I cannot help but post about Maya Angelou today. My sense of loss is profound. My sense of humor sits quietly, taking a back seat to reflection.
As a child, I had a teacher who, when talking about poetry, managed to make me feel less than intelligent because I never understood the point of poetry. Especially poetry that didn’t rhyme.
I just didn’t get it. Still don’t.
So Maya Angelou as a poet didn’t appeal to me and I came to the party late. Oprah introduced me to the Maya Angelou the world knew, and I fell head over heels for the woman who spoke and wrote so exceptionally well through her heart, through her being, through her love.
I read her books and was awestruck by her story, her life, and her courage. A humble woman, she still managed to stand tall and be proud of who she was without grandstanding. The truth, as she knew it, was open to all.
She said her favorite word was “love”. I watched a video this morning of her speaking of love and how she discovered God loved her, and was humbled by it. His love “made the fleas and the leaves, the flowers and…you.”
Then she lowered her head to her lap, took a deep breath, rose, and said, “And I am humbled by that. And grateful.” She had tears in her eyes and her voice was thick.
Personally, I have never had such a moment, a discovery so profound it humbled me – at least not one that big – and I found myself grateful for those two minutes to learn what it’s all about.
Somebody sent the Christmas Poem “Amazing Peace” to me for Christmas one year. A small book, it’s a poem written by Dr. Angelou and it made such a strong impact on me I bought ten copies and gave them as gifts.
And it made me want to write. I picked up a pen and wrote out my thoughts on the words within that tiny book. That was the beginning of my writing career.
And so today I cry for a woman I’ve never met, and I think about how my actions and my words reflect on the world, and I know I am a better person for her being here.
Amazon has the book “Amazing Peace.” My copy, sitting next to me as I write this, has a different cover, cream colored with bright red letters. My fingerprints and maybe some melted chocolate bless the front as I have browsed through it many times looking for inspiration. I’ve always found it there in this tiny book full of optimism, hope, and a prayer for peace.
I believe your soul, Sister Maya, achieved that peace long ago. May it continue as an example to us all.