So This Is Love: For Dr. Maya Angelou

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Dr. Maya Angelou

Sunrise: April 4th, 1928

Sunset: May 28th, 2014

Mother Maya

May I call you that?

I know for so long you were called, "Sister…"

I've never been very good at letting go

So to hear of your sudden departure has jolted me into a state of shock.

For only yesterday

Your praises were on the tips of my fingers.

My thoughts were infused with the sweet, velvety caress of your inspiring words.

My ears stretched

To wrap around a large, elegant, poised and poignant voice,

A voice that belonged to you.

Clear and strong and affectionate,

The words cloaked in your voice crawled beneath my skin sending ripples out to my heart and mind.

I imagined this was what it felt like

To be sitting at your feet

Drinking in your freely offered wisdom

As if it were the first time

In a very long time

That cracked, parched lips  wrapped themselves around a bottle of ice cold water,

I couldn't get enough.

And so I was always a fan of your work-

Your sculptor way with the material of words.

But before your departure

You imparted something to me

(And a great many others),

A seed,

Inspiration yet to be realized.

It goes beyond a love for your written work

And encompasses the fabric of your effulgent being

Emanating from the life you dared to live.

Never letting the obstacles keep you down

But rather always pulling yourself up and standing at your full height

Back straight

Shoulders pulled back proud and majestic.

Teaching young girls how to grow into phenomenal women.

Teaching women to recognize that even if we left our voice, our voice never left us.

Teaching us to rise.

Teaching those of us who experienced rape and molestation that we didn't have to be

held down,

or held back,

or held hostage by the past.

Teaching us to rise.

Teaching those of us who are single parents and especially single mothers that there is no shame in pressing towards a personal destiny that will benefit the children even as you continue to sacrifice for them.

Teaching us to rise.

Teaching women to command a room and demand respect.

Teaching us to rise.

Teaching men to appreciate more than a woman's body and encouraging them to commit to learning a woman's inner mystery.

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Teaching us to rise. 

Teaching us to become citizens of the world and to look beyond our own horizons and borders into the souls and lands of distant brothers and sisters.

Teaching us to rise.

Teaching us to explore unfamiliar things - new lands, new food, new languages.

Teaching us to rise.

Teaching us that we Can grow into who we really are and who we really are can be many things -

Child

Sibling

Lover

Parent

Dancer

Singer

Activist

Dramatist

Filmmaker

Actor

Speaker

Author

Poet

And above all

A Child of God.

Teaching us to rise.

Teaching us to rise.

To rise above the conditions of our past, our circumstances, our limited experience

Daring to be

a Martin Luther King Jr.

a Gandhi

a Mother Theresa

a Malcolm X

a Nelson Mandela

a

Maya Angelou

I was sad to hear of your departure

But for over 60 years you unselfishly poured your life into the people

You are an international treasure

A queen recognized globally

You gave all you had been given to give

And returned to heaven

Having held nothing back.

We are forever grateful.

Thank you for your words - to be echoed through out the world for the rest of time.

Thank you for your smile, your charm and your grace.

Thank you for your courage, your quiet humility, and your beauty.

In your words -

"I am grateful to have been loved and to be loved now and to be able to love, because that liberates. Love liberates…It doesn't bind. Love says, 'I love you. I love you if you're in China. I love you if you're across town…I love you. I would like yo be near you. I'd like to have your arms around me. I'd like to hear your voice in my ear. But that's not possible now, so I love you. Go."

And so Mother Maya

WE love you.

We loved you in North Carolina, in Washington D.C.

We loved you in Cairo, in Ghana.

We loved you as you came into our streets, our churches, our temples, our universities, our government offices, our homes,

Our hearts.

We love you.

We'd like to be near you.

We'd like to have your arms and ripe words around us.

We'd like to hear your balmy, pungent, tender voice in our collective ear.

But that's not possible now,

So we love you.

Heaven has called.

Go.

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