The Cage Bird Sung

Maya Angelou passed away this morning at the age of 86.

Along with the news of her death, the newsfeeds offered the reminder of how Maya first found her voice.

He voice arose in the ugliest and darkest of times.

As a young child, Maya was raped by a friend of her mother, and in an act of incredible courage, she later testified against him in court. The man was found guilty, but in an act of gross injustice, he only spent a day in Jail.

Upon the man’s release, he was beat to death.

In all likelihood, the beating came at the hands of Maya’s uncles. For the next 5 or 6 years, Maya didn’t speak. She believed it was her words that killed the man, and her guilt was real and profound.

During this time of hurt and silence, she lost herself in books and poetry and found another voice. Over time, she did speak again, and spent the next 73 years sharing the beauty of her voice and her words to all who would listen. Her voice gave a hope that will indeed prove her legacy.

There was something magical, and captivating by her presence and her writing. Today, I wanted to celebrate the passing of a national icon, and literary force but also remember something more. I wanted to remember the little girl – barely 8 and broken beyond belief. I wanted to remember the truth that became Maya’s greatest legacy; Evil and ugliness may overflow from our world, but hope is greater still.

Maya reminded that ugliness doesn’t get the last word.


“I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.

I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.

I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life.

I’ve learned that making a “living” is not the same thing as making a “life.”

I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.

I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.

I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.

I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one.

I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.

I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn. I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

~Maya Angelou  (April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014)

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