2 Million Searches for Maya
(Photo: Robert Deutsch, USA TODAY)
The life span of Maya Angelou was 86 years. She has had such a profound impact on my life and on my heart. With her words and actions, she has been my supreme example of how we can make a difference and why we make a difference. Even more important was in how she made me feel and believe. Her quotes are posted on my desktop, framed and written in my daily journals throughout my lifetime.
She was a phenomenal woman. Just a drop of her millions of words written:
"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."
"We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated."
"You are the sum total of everything you've ever seen, heard, eaten, smelled, been told, forgot - it's all there. Everything influences each of us, and because of that I try to make sure that my experiences are positive."
"Nothing can dim the light which shines from within."
"Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud."
"I make writing as much a part of my life as I do eating or listening to music."
A drop-out at age 14, she read and studied voraciously. Her memoirs, poetry and quotes will become eternal. She has guided me through my everyday life challenges and her writing became my first inspiration to write.
In 1964, many of us were impacted by the Civil Rights Movement. She impacted my life alongside Malcolm X and Martin Luther King. I became a political activist for equal rights before I reached my teens. My belief in free-thinking and how to make a difference became all about what we all can do for the common good of all, in our family, in our community, in our country. She showed me how.
Her public life spanned decades inspiring those who appreciated dance, drama and culture at thousands of venues. Her awards, prizes and honorary degrees are many. She made it her mission in life not merely to survive, but to thrive and to do so with passion, compassion, humor, and a lot of style.
I hope each of us will take a moment of time to be one of those millions of searches and seek out not only what she was in life but why she will remain eternally in many hearts for so many like me. I bid her farewell in the peace that surpasses all understanding, the beyond.