On the passing of Maya Angelou

As I took my usual morning scroll through my Facebook feed, I saw one, then two, then more and more quotations from Maya Angelou. After the third I realized this was no fluke and most likely meant one of two things: today is her birthday and she’s getting way more wonderful tributes than I’ve seen for her in the past; or today Maya Angelou died. I think I knew it was the latter but held out hope until I saw the first post confirming that she has died. Rest in power, Dr. Angelou.

The news hit me hard, not just for the loss of Maya Angelou herself, but for the ever-increasing understanding of how many brilliant artists and activists will die during my lifetime. It’s one thing to treasure the work and life of someone who is already gone; it’s another entirely to share time on this earth with them and then have them go. Thinking of those losses that have happened already and the ones yet to come made me feel overwhelmed and a bit despondent–how can we possibly recover from so many losses?

Then I remembered that brilliant artists and activists are being born every day, that I’ve had the good luck of being surrounded by them and by knowledge of them in my life, and that we won’t run out of beauty and brilliance so long as we continue to tend to it. I’m left with a renewed commitment to seek out and support those cultivators of beauty, truth and justice in my own life and world.

Originally posted on Facebook