This week we lost an inspiration.
In the death of Maya Angelou we lost so much.
We lost a woman who used her voice for speak for those without a voice. We lost a woman who was incredibly wise and yet spoke with simple clarity. We lost a woman who experienced pain and knew how to overcome it.
But more than all that we lost a woman who to the very core of her being epitomized courage.
Maya Angelou once said that ‘Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.’
Recently I’ve been struck about how important and necessary courage is. We don’t often talk about it but many people have to be courageous every day of their lives.
It takes courage to take a stand and speak out when others remain silent. It takes courage to encounter rejection and not become cynical. It takes courage to live selflessly when others are selfishly ambitious. It takes courage to be treated badly and not seek revenge. It takes courage to go on when life has knocked you down.
But, the more I’ve thought about Maya Angelou, the more I’ve realised at the core of this amazing women was not only courage but also hope.
Maya experienced a world that was brutal and unjust. As a child she was subjected the most terrible experience – being raped by someone she should have been able to trust. Then watching that man be killed and believing it to be her fault she was mute for almost five years.
But despite this – and many other terrible experiences – through her writing, teaching, activism and art she showed us how to live life infused with hope. To live a life that believed for better.
Through her writing she spoke into being a world that was better than the one we often experience. She enabled us to dream for a better tomorrow than the world we experience today. Through her own example of fighting against the odds, she gave us the courage and hope that we too could overcome all that life throws at us.
So embrace hope and courage. And know to the very core of your being that they are the ‘fuel’ for a life well lived.
RIP Maya Angelou you taught us all so much.