They are laying Maya Angelou to rest today. I have written before about Maya's "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings" giving me the first personal insight into the Black struggle for equality and what they had to endure when equality didn't apply to all races.
So today I came across Maya being interviewed on television a few years ago. She spoke of the great weight that words have in human interaction. She was quite specific; she said that she's convinced that words have such weight that, like cigarette smoke or wood smoke, words penetrate your clothes and work their way into your entire being and then determining how you see and react to the world.
She expanded that concept and spoke of words hovering in the air in a room, in a home, or in some public place. She insisted that she could immediately sense whether this place was one of love or one of hate and conflict.
I don't think any of that is far-fetched. I believe it is entirely possible to expand your capacity to love if you surround yourself, and express yourself only with healing words, words of love and compassion. Though I do not have that luxury, because I am a culture warrior, I would encourage anyone who has the luxury of living in a vacuum, of anyone who can divorce themselves from worldly concerns, to do do. Really, if you are going to blindly move about a violent and rapidly changing world, why not travel in the best mode possible?
Cynic that I am, I can see where Maya reached a stage of living where that kind of life is possible. She had become immensely wealthy, she became a cultural icon where her words are heard and where her causes were championed. But, being a realist, and without taking a thing from Maya, I know that she was a terribly angry person in her younger years, that she succumbed to the lust for the almighty dollar by becoming a madam at a house of prostitution, and that she sometimes was able to lean on "victimhood" to justify her life experiences.
That same luxury goes to Oprah and Obama and Jessie Jackson and Bill and Hillary and at least half of Hollywood, California. The world is a far more pleasing place when one lives behind iron gates and can trade on their name for immense wealth.
None of that should concern the average fella. If so many Americans are so consumed by apathy, why not join them and ignore the storm brewing all around you. It works well for the Dalai Lama...but then that's his life role so why not? And the Pope as well; he champions open borders and the redistribution of wealth because that is his role as well (being very careful not to speak of The Church's own immense wealth).
But again, we are not Oprah or Barack or Bill and Hillary, or the Pope, or Maya....we are just average joes who have a choice on how we are to accept our world and what degree of peace and healing we allow ourselves to enjoy. I'm just not built to walk around blindly and accept my fate, even at my advanced age, when it would be smart to do so. So, those that do choose to live in a kindler and gentler world that they themselves have the capacity to create, more power to them.
Maya is certainly right about the power of words to both wound or heal....it's just that many of us do not have that luxury.