Saturday, May 31, 2014

Quote It Saturday 5/31

Writer and poet Maya Angelou died this week at age 86, and the world has lost an amazing, joyful, and wise person. I only discovered Angelou's writing for myself last year, when I read her first memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, for Banned Books week. I was blown away by her vivid writing, her honesty, her humor, and her dignity in this book that tells the story of her childhood. You can read my full review here - I highly recommend the memoir and can't wait to read her others.

Here are a couple of quotations from that book that really struck me and seemed relevant to my own life:

"The quality of strength lined with tenderness is an unbeatable combination, as are intelligence and necessity when unblunted by formal education."

"At fifteen life had taught me undeniably that surrender, in its place. was as honorable as resistance, especially if one had no choice."

          - I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

That second one is especially applicable to life with chronic illness and is a lesson that it took me a while to learn, as steeped as I was in our culture of keep fighting and never give up. I will always keep fighting for effective treatments and education of both the medical community and the general population, but I understand now that I can not always fight back against my own illness and that sometimes I make more progress when I give in to it and surrender to the need to rest. That kind of surrender is not defeat but strength.

I was unfamiliar with Angelou's poetry until this week, when people began posting quotes and videos after she died. This particular poem, And Still I Rise, really touched me, as did her own performance of it:

I think I've watched it a dozen times this week, and I hope you enjoy it, too. I think it embodies our lives with chronic illness and the kind of attitude I want to have. I just love the joy and laughter that surround Maya Angelou's work - yes, she wrote about suffering, too, but as this poem shows, in her world, it is always overshadowed by joy.

Have a great weekend!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Thanks for the clip. She was wonderful.