As many of you who follow me probably know, Maya Angelou has been a great source of inspiration for me. I frequently quote her on this blog and more frequently, I write posts inspired by her words and poems.
I am deeply saddened to hear of her death. The world is surely a bit darker without her shining light. However, Dr. Angelou has graduated and I’m sure today when she met the Lord, He smiled at her and said, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
Maya Angelou will never know the full extent of lives touched by her work here on Earth. She’s inspired millions who will go on to inspire millions more. A job well done, indeed.
I remember watching her on Oprah Winfrey’s network series Master Class around this same time last year. Even through the television screen, I could resonate with her calming presence. The stillness, grace, and peace that she resided in, also resided in her. Her light could not be dimmed.
I remember in that Master Class, Maya said something that I will never forget and has since changed my life. She told Oprah, “When you learn, teach. At our best, we are all teachers.” Aside from being an accomplished poet, author, civil rights activist, singer and dancer, Maya Angelou was also a professor at Wake Forest University in my hometown of North Carolina. But Maya assured others, you don’t have to be a professor to be a teacher.
The most powerful part of Maya Angelou’s testimony is that not only did she share wisdom through speaking, writing, and teaching, but she lived out her own advice. She was a walking, breathing example of her own wisdom. A rare accomplishment in this life.
Today, I have gathered some of my personal favorite quotes by Dr. Angelou in honor of a life well lived.
“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”
“I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.”
“One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.”
“Nothing will work unless you do.”
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.”
“Everything in the universe has a rhythm, everything dances.”
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
“My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry; to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return.”