“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, they will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” The words of Dr. Maya Angelou are many, but when I think of them they encourage me to try and help people feel better through the power of forgiveness. She was truly a phenomenal woman.
Maya Angelou was born Marguerite Ann Johnson on April 4, 1928 in St. Louis, Missouri. Her past is a little sketchy. Marguerite had a troubled childhood and became a teenage mother and experienced marriage and divorce at a young age. Her biography states that at one time she was even a prostitute. This phenomenal woman was a dancer, singer and a host of other interesting professions. However, she is and will continue to be known as one of the voices of our time.
Ms. Angelou is a celebrated poet, novelist, educator, producer, actress, filmmaker and civil rights activist. She also received over 50 honorary degrees in her lifetime. In 1993 President William Clinton asked her to recite her poem, “On The Pulse Of Morning,” at his inauguration. She became the first poet to make an inaugural recitation since Robert Frost at President Kennedy’s inauguration in 1961. In 2011 she received the Presidential Medal of Honor from President Barack Obama.
When we reflect back on her life and the works she accomplished the list is long. Most of us have been touched by either a poem or a piece of literature produced by this wonderful soul. Her book, “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings,” is widely acclaimed and the part where she shares about being a victim of sexual abuse as a child rings loud in my soul as a survivor. I am grateful she had the courage to talk about her life. Her voice helped me to let my voice be heard for victims everywhere to not stay silent.
She walked with Kings and Queens, but never lost the common touch. I recently heard where Ms. Angelou said, “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” These pearls of wisdom is something we can all acquire to achieve.
Healing Without Hate: It’s a choice. It’s a lifestyle. Pass it on!
Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Wendy is featured on Radio Free 102.3 KJLH on Front Page with Dominique DiPrima Thursday Mornings @ 5:00am.