I have been listening to a rebroadcast of a 2013 Diane Rehm show with Maya Angelou today. Earlier this week, author, poet, and civil rights activist Maya Angelou died at the age of 86. Why is it that so often we don’t fully treasure someone until after they’ve died? That ‘s the case for me with Ms. Angelou.
As I listen to her sonorous and soothing voice today, I am struck by the sheer wisdom she possessed. It was a wisdom that did not come from books or journals (or even Google!), but the wisdom born of life – and a difficult life at that.
Love is healing…
In this interview with Diane Rehm, Angelou discusses her last autobiographical book, “Mom & Me & Mom.” She had a complicated relationship with her mother – at three years old, she was sent away to live with her grandmother, and without explanation returned back at age 7 to be raped by her mother’s boyfriend. Wow…
Angelou says that she had thought about writing a book about her mother 20 years ago, but she wasn’t ready; she hadn’t learned enough. She says that she still hadn’t learned that love is healing – not sentimentality or romance.
When she was sent to live with her grandmother, Angelou says, she learned that it was not an act of rejection by her mother, but an act of love. “Love allowed her to send her children away,” she says, and as a result, Angelou was given a gift to be raised by a tall, strong, devout woman who cared for her, was proud of her, and passed along her Christian faith.
There’s so much more I’ve been learning from Maya Angelou this week. But for now I’m savoring her words, “love is healing” and giving thanks for this wise woman.