A wonderful meal with a cast of pastoral educators the other week made me think of this. I’m grateful for the wisdom within Dr. Angelou because she hits all the notes here.
One day the teacher, Frederick Wilkerson, asked me to read to him. I was twenty-four, very erudite, very worldly. He asked that I read from Lessons in Truth, a section which ended with these words: “God loves me.” I read the piece and closed the book, and the teacher said, “Read it again.” I pointedly opened the book, and I sarcastically read, “God loves me.” He said, “Again.” After about the seventh repetition I began to sense that there might be truth in the statement, that there was a possibility that God really did love me. Me, Maya Angelou. I suddenly began to cry at the grandness of it all. I knew that if God loved me, then I could do wonderful things, I could try great things, learn anything, achieve anything. For what could stand against me with God, since one person, any person with God, constitutes the majority?
That knowledge humbles me, melts my bones, closes my ears, and makes my teeth rock loosely in their gums. And it also liberates me. I am a big bird winging over high mountains, down into serene valleys. I am ripples of waves on silvery seas. I’m a spring leaf trembling in anticipation.
From Maya Angelous’s Wouldn’t Take Nothing For My Journey Now
Here’s a partial tribute to my wife whose birth and life we celebrate today. Dawn’s a year older. Maya Angelou is a worthy woman to attend to on day like today and she reminds me to love the lady who is a “rainbow in my cloud.”
Ain’t nobody better’s my Daddy,
you keep yo’ quauter
I ain’t yo’ daughter,
Ain’t nobody better’s my Daddy.
Ain’t nothing prettier’n my dollie
heard what I said,
don’t pat her head,
Ain’t nothing prettier’n my dollie.
No lady cookinger than my Mommy
smell that pie,
see I don’t lie
No lady cookinger than my Mommy.
By Maya Angelou