lessons learned: life changing moments

Recently, I had the opportunity to visit with some of the individuals we serve through my workplace.  I spent the better part of a day with 6 women who live together in a home that they have truly made their own.  It was an honor to be so warmly welcomed by these ladies and learn more about their lives.

As the morning progressed, one of the residents shared with me that she loved reading and reciting poetry.  I was delighted when she offered to recite two of her favorite poems for me.

She began by centering herself with her eyes closed and breathing, and then suddenly, without warning, words danced off her tongue as her body interpreted each line of the poem. It was as if she was moved by some gentle force that filled her spirit.  Her connection to Maya Angelou’s words in “Woman Work” brought me to tears mid-poem.  The vulnerability and power of her performance was truly one of the most moving that I’ve experienced.

It was life changing.  And I’ve told folks so.

But as I have shared this story, I have had a couple of people dare to ask, “Was it actually ‘life changing?'”

That got me to thinking about events on our journey that transform our lives in some way, and hopefully, for the better.  Why would we want to be stingy with those.  My prayer for myself is that every day I would be open to experiences that are transformational, whether they are grand burning bushes or small, holy whispers.  I want my heart and mind and spirit to be touched by life around me so much so that I find delight and wonder and connection in places or moments I may never have anticipated.

Since my visit, I have continued to meditate on that Maya Angelou poem and on the young woman’s interpretation.  Both have opened me up to appreciating my own journey a little bit differently so yeah, I’d call that “life changing.”  And thank goodness!

Woman Work by Maya Angelou

I’ve got the children to tend
The clothes to mend
The floor to mop
The food to shop
Then the chicken to fry
The baby to dry
I got company to feed
The garden to weed
I’ve got shirts to press
The tots to dress
The cane to be cut
I gotta clean up this hut
Then see about the sick
And the cotton to pick.

Shine on me, sunshine
Rain on me, rain
Fall softly, dewdrops
And cool my brow again.

Storm, blow me from here
With your fiercest wind
Let me float across the sky
‘Til I can rest again.

Fall gently, snowflakes
Cover me with white
Cold icy kisses and
Let me rest tonight.

Sun, rain, curving sky
Mountain, oceans, leaf and stone
Star shine, moon glow
You’re all that I can call my own.

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