November 24, 2010


On the day before Thanksgiving, I want to share a memory that belongs to Maya Angelou, poet and author of many books, plays and essays. It appeared in the December 2010 issue of “Good Housekeeping” magazine (pg. 177). Sometimes, a thought is expressed so simply, so elegantly that it needs no embellishing. Hers was one of those them. Ms. Angelou was remembering a dark period of her life when she considered suicide. Reaching out to a friend, she confessed despair was driving her insane. His response was to hand her a yellow pad and a pen with the instruction that she make a list of her blessings. The author was incensed. “Don’t talk nonsense. I’m telling you I am going crazy,” she cried.

 He persisted:

 “Write down that you can see this yellow pad and think of the millions on this planet who cannot see the smiles of their growing children or the delight in the faces of their beloveds… Write down that you can hear me say ‘write down’ and think of the millions who cannot hear the cries of their babies or the sweet words of their beloveds…  Write down that you know how to write.  Write down that you know how to read.”

Maya Angelou found her footing and went on to a spectacular career, as we know. But if I were allowed to add one more blessing to her list that day, I’d say “Write down that you have a friend.”