Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Michelle Obama... The Gift That History Gave
"That is the story of this country, the story that has brought me to this stage tonight, the story of generations of people who felt the lash of bondage, the shame of servitude, the sting of segregation, but who kept on striving and hoping and doing what needed to be done so that today, I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves — and I watch my daughters — two beautiful, intelligent, black young women — playing with their dogs on the White House lawn." --Michelle Obama, FLOTUS
So this happened. Last night I watched, along with millions here in America and around the world, as First Lady Michelle Obama spoke to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. And I could not hold back the tears that came to rescue me from my own efforts to control my emotions in the course of that speech. Thankfully, when she got to the part quoted above, our ancestor Maya Angelou came and sat beside me. She rested her right hand on my thigh... and I found myself repeating with her that most profound, universally powerful, verse:
"Out of the huts of history's shame... I rise!
Up from a past that's rooted in pain... I rise!
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear... I rise!
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear...I rise!
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise! I rise! I rise!"
There I sat in that sacred moment... In the company of Michelle and Maya... Phenomenally.
There is a life-proliferating quality in the words and work of these two women. In affirmation of the cultural and spiritual offerings they contain, their words stir in us certain emotions that are now inhabitants of our consciousness as a result of our shared history. Maya came to remind me of this. And having done her work, she gently patted my thighs and left me alone with my thoughts and emotions... And the visage and voice of Michelle Obama.
" ..., we cannot sit back and hope that everything works out for the best. We cannot afford to be tired or frustrated or cynical.'
Michelle Obama is the gift that History has given us. Her words serve us way beyond the exigencies of any election season. As a gift she is one of many... but an exceptional one. She has this wonderful ability to draw us to a most sacred place in our life experience; and in this place we become intimate with a mating of ideas and ideals that leave us pregnant with the expectation of something greater for ourselves and all those connected to us.
Through her cultural and political genius the First Lady reaches deep within and calls forth the memory of our sacred obligation to be fruitful and multiply ... to take charge of our lives and our destiny... to never give in or give up on ourselves despite the challenges of our past and our present. Here is indeed a voice from the Eden of our experiences. It calls us to new dreams, and new hopes, and a new vitality.
Michelle Obama inspires us to refine and redefine who we are and who we would be in a world constantly holding up before us the forbidden fruit of a corrupted culture.