Be the Rainbow

It was always a dream of mine to meet Maya Angelou. As a kid, I wanted to know her because she was a writer. I was a writer, too— and I thought, “Surely, she would get me.” There was a point in my childhood when all I wanted to do was write. On the way to school. At the dinner table. In church. I would leave mass with pages of poetry. It’s probably why my mom always sat us in the back.

I was too young then to read and understand the enormity of Ms. Angelou’s work. But I loved her wisdom. My mom once gave me a book of inspirational quotes and some of Maya’s were in there. She was all about the heart— always the heart. Everything else followed.

The remarkable part about Maya Angelou’s story is that it’s not a happy one. She was abused as a child, struggled as a young adult and was not appreciated publicly until much later in life. However, she continued to love, trust and forgive— all while pushing the world to do the same.

She has reminded us to, “Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.” Love yourself, love others and love even the cloudiest days.

This now-popular quote, “… People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel,” is perhaps Ms. Angelou’s most powerful. It’s powerful because we live in a world that’s very much concerned with titles. But in the end, the only title that really matters is the one stamped within your heart.

As you celebrate her courage and success, remember to celebrate her heart. A heart that encouraged forgiveness, promoted patience and cultivated love.