“I want to thank you, Lord, for life and all that’s in it. Thank you for the day and for the hour, and the minute. ”-Maya Angelou
Today the world lost a beautiful and resilient soul, who not only survived the worst kinds of struggle and turmoil in her life, but overcame it all to flourish in the arts and inspire others with her heart-felt words of wisdom and faith. I remember reading about Maya Angelou in high school, and studying her work throughout college. What always struck me about her writing was that no matter what her readers had encountered in their own lives, her words resonated in such a way that simply by reading her, our eyes and hearts opened up to something intangible, enlightening, and strengthening. She was one of those rare artists that made me feel as though God was using her as an instrument, or a lesson in faith, that he was speaking through her. God only speaks through an open door, and into an open heart. That takes the utmost courage, especially for those who have been so jaded by others. To not become bitter and cynical in the face of adversity is strength enough, but to transcend pain and raise others while working through such challenges, is nothing less than awe-inspiring. She had an appreciation for life, a gratitude for time, and a love of joy that forces the rest of us to reflect. After all, someone is always experiencing something more difficult and rising up in spite of the pain, and sometimes because of it. What makes the difference between the one who rises, and the one who falls is quite simply…Faith.