The death of Marguerite Johnson, better known as Dr. Maya Angelou has me thinking a lot about life. As I read through my timeline on facebook and glanced through Twitter and Instagram over and over there was a resounding theme concerning Dr. Angelou. She left a legacy that can not be denied.
Many of us may never have Oprah as a bestie or write best-selling books. Many may never grace the presence of Presidents or have Pulitzer nominations. Many will never produce poems that set the spirits of girls and women in motion. More than 30 healthcare facilities and dozens of doctoral degrees may never bear our names, BUT our name matters.
What will we leave behind? Will we set our sights on making memories or will our sole focus be making money? Will we leave a legacy of having lasting friendships or will do our actions and attitude tell others that ships are meant to sail solo? Will we teach those behind us how to have healthy communication or will cursing, “reading”, gossiping and shutting people out be what we offer to those watching? Will we teach young girls how to be ladies or will we struggle to embrace our own innate, undeniable, “you’ve got it whether you want it or not” beauty, regality and grace? Will we show young boys how to grow to become men who know how to treat women or will we fall victim to some of the rap and the stats? Will we be generous with our wisdom or will we hoard it like it has use in Heaven?
What we leave behind doesn’t start when we’re buried. It started when we were born. The older we get the closer to the grave we all go. That’s a fact of life. To me, Dr. Angelou’s life showed the importance of, and ability to be successful, relevant and still connected. She showed us how to be a good friend, a respected leader, a wise woman, a transformed and transforming agent, and a wordsmith. Her legacy teaches us that it’s okay, no, not just okay, but our obligation to be sassy and bold, caring and sensitive, helpful and true to our convictions, transparent and courageous, eloquent and elegant, and unique in our own skin.
Dr. Angelou has done her part in showing us how to do our part. There are men, women, boys and girls who are literally waiting on our words, our actions, our kind deeds, correction and direction to change their lives. Now the rest lies with us. What will we leave behind?