Courage, dear heart.
I spent the day rather quietly—I had lunch with my grandmother, a lovely long phone call with my brother, and dinner with my sister and her family. No cake, no frills, no fuss. It was really just like any other day.
Today was also the day that Maya Angelou died.
Because of that, there have been numerous articles, obituaries, and eulogies written about Angelou and shared all over the internet. Earlier today, I came across an interview Angelou did in 2013, and as I was reading, this passage was deeply relatable:
“Well, I believed that there was a God because I was told it by my grandmother and later by other adults. But when I found that I knew not only that there was God but that I was a child of God, when I understood that, when I comprehended that, more than that, when I internalized that, ingested that, I became courageous.
I dared to do anything that was a good thing. I dared to do things as distant from what seemed to be in my future. I became a translator in Serbo-Croat in Yugoslavia, and I conducted the Boston Pops. I taught at the Habima Theatre in Tel Aviv in Israel, and I worked as a journalist in Egypt with the only English news magazine in the Middle East. All of that, and I come from a little village in Arkansas, smaller than Picayune, and I was a young black woman, trying to do all the good things.
When I was asked to do something good, I often say yes, I’ll try, yes, I’ll do my best. And part of that is believing, if God loves me, if God made everything from leaves to seals and oak trees, then what is it I can’t do?”
When my brother called me today, we discussed some things I’ve been considering about for my future. I asked him for his opinion. “Sell it to me,” I said. And as he spoke, I struggled so hard not to pay attention to the fear that was growing within me.
I don’t want to be afraid. I don’t want to live in fear. For my whole life, I have spoken boldly and acted fearfully.
I don’t want to live like that. Not anymore.
I resolve to be courageous. Not brave, not reckless, not rebellious. I resolve to live in spite of fear, in spite of insecurity, and in spite of past experiences.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
I know I will wake tomorrow and be immediately confronted with my fears—so many fears. So I’ll take the first step, and post this now.
May this, my 28th year, be the year of courage.