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Saturday, November 8, 2014

A guided tour

Lately I have been reading a lot of fiction about family relationships. It has been an interesting experience. Even though the lives I read about were made up by the talented authors, the experiences did make me think about my own family dynamics. Stuff happens in any family and it can either be swept under the rug and kept secret for generations or it can be dealt with at the time.

Something odd happened yesterday which started with a quote I found by Maya Angelou: "One isn't necessarily born with courage. Without courage we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous or honest."

The quote had such a powerful impact that I first flipped through some other quotes of hers. Suddenly I was hooked. I wanted to know what other works she might have written and checked her out on Amazon.com, where I found and purchased I Know Why Caged Birds Sing. The book is the first volume of her memoirs, written at age 41. She went on to live another 45 years.

I am about half way through the book and I love it. I always knew that she was a woman with a beautiful soul, but through her words I am understanding how that happened. I found another quote this morning submitted by her family, which added to my view. "Maya Angelou (4/4/28-5/19/14) has taken flight. Let her rise, but hold fast to her words. We now have to learn to speak with clarity and beauty for ourselves."

I am grateful for whatever guided me to read Ms. Angelou's book not only because it is so well written with tiny drops of humor that I dearly love, but because I learned so many true facts about a culture I knew little about. I basically grew up in the State of Washington and didn't meet a negro until I was an adult.

Although Our life experiences have been totally different, because of this guided tour, I can relate to the courage it took to hold her head up, tell her story and move on with the rest of her life.

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