Carlyle Fielding Stewart III

Writings on Democracy, Social Justice, and Religion

“Maya Has Left Us But Her Words Still Lift Us”

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The death of the great poet and writer Maya Angelou speaks to the power of the human spirit to transcend the travesties and indignities of human suffering and oppression. Her life is a testament, a metaphor, a window into the meaning of hope, the triumph of redemption and the genius of reinvention. She lived her life, blazed her trails, and made her mark by taking the pain and pleasure of her thorns and roses, and beautifully transforming them into brilliant bouquets of compassion, joy and wisdom. The perfumed fragrances of her messages of love and hope, to the lost and lonely, the brokenhearted and even the dumbfounded, gave vibrant breaths of new possibilities amid the stale stench of human despair.

No stranger to death and human tragedy, she lived her life not as continuing elegy nor did she craft long litanies of lingering condemnation to the architects of her personal misfortune, but instead she gave to us in diversified verse consecrated forms of perpetual consolation that cleansed and sanctified our tears and suffering – giving us new wings for the morning.

Her words healed us, quickened us and questioned our acceptance of socially designated low places. Her words lifted us and chided us not to accept the cold silences that cage us; the dark remembrances that entomb us; and not to rest, content with the evil and envy which consign and imprison us to the lengthening, deepening shadows of vengeful and indelible defeat.

Mastering the agonies of human suffering, she “ecstasized” our pain, celebrated our gain and reminded us that through it all we were still loved and beloved. Yes, we are those that the son and the sun have loved.

Few persons have had the life that she had and lived to tell about it. Few persons have taken the raw materials of human experience and shaped them into lasting monuments of triumph, hope and God-inspired glory.

She was a bright light in a dark place and will always be remembered for the words that lifted us beyond the vale of our earthly trials and sojourn.

She is gone now, but her words live on. She will never be forgotten.

And as she stated in the opening lines of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,

“What you looking at me for? . . . I didn’t come to stay.”

2 responses to ““Maya Has Left Us But Her Words Still Lift Us””

  1. Dorothy Merchant Avatar
    Dorothy Merchant

    Pastor Stewart,
    Maya Angelou handed you her baton. You are running with it at a meteoric pace powered by grace. Your consistent passion for being a voice for the people inspires me to keep on keeping on… God Bless and keep you and your family always.

    1. cfstewart Avatar

      Thank you Dorothy. I miss you. Hope that you are well. Expect more articles coming in the future.

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