Remembering Dr. Maya Angelou
by Cha Jones, June 9, 2014
Dr. Angelou, a great teacher, will remain a voice as much in spirit as she was as a living legacy. As a poet and a women myself who has lived abroad I know that the spirit of God is the only protection that covered me in my absence of fear. Just as she put her traveling shoes on, I chose to wear mine skipping through countries in the fullness of my own reality. I danced knowing that I have spirits that supersede me and walk steps ahead of me on this journey as a beacon of light cascading splendor no matter where I travel.
I will never forget the moment I saw her at Vanderbilt University in 2007. I recall tears streaming down my face because I was sitting before an angle. Her voice commanded the strength of an unbroken iron poised with resilience. She spoke as elegant as royalty would and goose bumps burst on the surface of my skin. Then, I had only dreamt of owning traveling shoes, but scripted in time God was preparing me for a fitting of my own.
In less than two year after her spirit touched me with elegant words and a voice of reason God gave me shoes suitable solely for me. I grabbed those shoes and ran. I placed them on my feet and knew that there were travelers that had buried themselves deep in my soul. I was ready for an adventure that would take me to Asia. I departed the plane with angles and God’s grace and mercy bestowed upon me as I moved into the unknown. It was with my grandmother’s prayers I was protected from my own ignorance and the world’s idea of who I truly was.
I proudly own a pair of traveling shoes that God hand designed just for me. I know cultures beyond my own because there were footsteps leading the way. I shed fear for calmness and certainty like a snake growing a new outer layer. The world and I were being introduced to one another, and as Maya wrote in All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes, “There is a kinship among wanderers, as operative as the bond between bishops or the tie between thieves,” and indeed there were. As travelers, there was a tie that made us global citizens and people withdrawn from standard identifiers. Once I put my traveling shoes on, I was no longer an American I was human. My eyes were open and I saw people like God saw me, bodiless and in spirit.
As mother Maya, ascends with grace I’d like to thank her for living a life that was laced with humility. She was no saint but can be revered as an angle who visited earth. She wore traveling shoes fit for a queen and it is only my hope to be able to wear my own traveling shoes and create imprints that span the global by giving back what I have been given. Indeed all God’s children deserve traveling shoes even if they never leave home, because footprints have an impact and give followers a road-map to unknown places that they might one day change perspective.