Sunday, June 01, 2014

Remembering One of the Greats

I’m a reader with eclectic tastes. I’ve read nearly every genre there is, not to mention a wide variety of nonfiction over the years. I’ve discovered some great writers in my time and, sadly, some of my favorites have passed away . . . Douglas Adams, Erma Bombeck, John Updike, Doris Lessing, to name a few. But the passing of Maya Angelou this week really made me stop and reflect.

The first time I heard her speak was on Oprah Winfrey’s show. I was absolutely captivated by her deep, rich, methodical voice. Maya Angelou didn’t speak quickly, she spoke thoughtfully and with wisdom, and often humor. References to her life prompted me to buy a copy of “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”, one of the most memorable memoirs I’ve had the good fortune to read. When she recited “On the Pulse of the Morning” at Bill Clinton’s first inauguration in 1993 I fell in love with poetry all over again. Have you ever seen her read her poem, Phenomenal Woman? It’s incredible.

Maya Angelou made me realize that great things are possible no matter how humble we start out in life. I’m sad that she’s gone, but grateful that I took the time to learn about this woman. She truly was phenomenal woman. Here’s a quote of hers that I found on JanuaryMagazine’s website. They’ve listed ten of her most beautiful quotes, but here’s one I treasure. 

I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life. I’ve learned that making a “living” is not the same thing as making a “life”. I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on with both hands; you need to be able to throw something back. I’ve learned that whenever I decide to do something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one. I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn. I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

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