I seldom write about celebrity deaths. Not because I don’t care. But because I don’t look at celebrities as people who should be followed in the sense of absorbing everything they say and do. However, in the past couple years, a few have hit home. Heavy D, James Avery, and today, Dr. Maya Angelou.
In fact, Heavy D’s death made me look at Dr. Maya Angelou’s death and her legacy in a way that is the opposite of grief. I wrote about that in the lens of how social networking has put a newfound weight on our last words. As I was re-visiting some quotes, I went to Dr. Angelou’s Twitter to see what the last tweet was; “Listen to yourself and in that quietude, you might hear the voice of God”
Whew! Too real. This year, I’ve been going through a bit of a tug-o-war with God. The other week, someone was telling me how prayer isn’t just about asking for what you want. It’s about you taking the time to hear God’s voice. In the quietness, God does answer you. But sometimes we miss the message or direction because we aren’t still.
What’s even crazier is Dr. Angelou was going to be in Houston this week for some type of awards event and at the Astros game. I was kind of hype because I wanted to get a picture of her. Some people want to meet their idols and will jump through all types of hoops to do so. For me, I just wanted to see this woman who was such an icon and take in whatever words she spoke into the mic in person.
But a contact hit me back Monday to let me know she wouldn’t be at the game. When I heard about her death via FB yesterday morning, I was speechless. As the day went on, I realized why people don’t handle famous deaths well. We often struggle with honoring our national treasures while we still have them here. We think these people we grew up watching, singing along with, or reading will live forever. Even though we know that’s false, we still take for granted how much their mere presence is amazing.
Dr. Angelou lived 86 years. There’s no reason to be sad or feel that her life is a loss. The wisdom she leaves behind is timeless. Like many of the leaders before her, we’re not going to get another Dr. Maya Angelou. It’s not about passing the torch or wondering who will step up to fill those shoes. I think the best way we can honor our idols, especially those who are teachers, is to apply their knowledge in our lives.
Dr. Angelou’s last tweet swirls in my mind right now while I type this post. It is a true anointing to be as prolific and universal as she was with her words. There’s literally a Maya Angelou quote for everything, every situation. You can’t say that about too many historical figures. So thank you, Dr. Angelou, for being one of the best teachers this world will ever know.