Maya Angelou made me cry

She sang, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine…”

This is how she began.

And she spoke about finding her light, finding our own light.. and I thought of my children. I thought about how each little person starts out with this light and it is up to us to encourage that light to grow. It is up to me to fuel that fire within and help create wonderful human beings.

And I wonder if I am?

And I cried.

“This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine…”

She said that we are all paid for. Our passages were paid by all that came before us. We arrived here on the backs of the oppressed and downtrodden. Our responsibility now is to pay for those that come after us.

What might the world look like if every person made decisions based on doing right by the generations to come?

And I marveled.

“This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine…”

She spoke about her Uncle Willie. She spoke of a poor, crippled, black man, in the days when lynching was common. She spoke of how he taught her her times tables so that she could say them “exquisitely.”

She spoke of a man that told her that Willie had made him the man he became. This man was mayor of Little Rock, Arkansas and the first black mayor in the south. She told of a ripple effect of influence on two more highly successful men that Dr. Angelou was able to meet throughout her many years. What an incredible thing to see the effect that her uncle had, even with his limitations.

If I can impact my children in a positive way, who might they be able to influence as they grow?

And I was inspired.

“This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine…”

She spoke of Terence. Terence was an African brought to Rome as a slave. He was freed and became one of the most popular playwrights in all of Rome. He said, “I am a human being. Nothing human can be alien to me.” She said that once you can understand that, you will be liberated.

Once we could understand that. Over 2000 years later and we are still working on that understanding.

And I contemplated.

If you have ever had the privilege of hearing Dr. Angelou speak, you will understand the power of her voice in the auditorium singing,

“This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine”

And I cried.

This was my first time going to see Dr. Angelou. It was a gift for my birthday and not even my idea. I’ve always enjoyed reading books and poetry by her, seeing her on various tv shows, and whatnot, but had never really thought about ever going to see her in person. I was truly amazed. It was a true gift. Thanks, Mom.

Have you ever seen Maya Angelou speak? Has she inspired you to do anything differently in your own life? Is there another person who has?


Maya Angelou made me cry — 8 Comments

  1. Your welcome, honey. It was as much a gift to myself and I'm so glad I could share it with you. You wrote it all down so beautifully and I like you am inspired!

  2. Wow. Absolutely beautiful! I would love to hear her speak! Sounds so powerful, and what a perfect response! Thanks for sharing!

  3. I was there in the audience, too. It was, as my partner says, life-changing. I'm still thinking about the light, about how Uncle Willy probably didn't know he was influencing stateswomen and men for generations to come (and all of us for that matter). He was just doing his part, doing what he could do, and his light shines on and on. That's profound for me, thinking as I often do that I need to be doing something "big" to make worthy a contribution to this world.

  4. you make me wish i were there, and i love how i almost feel that i was. she has so much wisdom. thank you for sharing the light:)

    i love the image that our passage is paid and we must pay the passage of others. such a picture of community and connection.

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