Last week my sister and I went to hear Maya Angelou speak at Roy Thompson Hall. The evening began with a few songs from a singer (unknown to me since we didn't get a program!). Maya was then introduced by Barbara Turnbull who was incredible on her own - I'd pay to hear her speak on her own - before being escorted onto the stage. A table, lamp, glass of water, a few books and a microphone were assembled beside the chair into which she was assisted. A frail woman. Slight compared to my previous sightings of her on TV or magazines. She is, after all, 83 years old.
And then she began to talk - and occasionally to sing or read, and often to laugh - for about 45 minutes. It was a great evening.
Her main message - along with telling each of us to go to the library to obtain writings by African-American writers including Mari Evans and Nikki Giovanni - was to be a rainbow in someones cloud.
She said that a smile to a stranger might make all the difference to their day. Because, Maya reminded us, we don't know what other people are going through. What struggles or pain or misery they are experiencing. And it takes nothing to smile, to say something kind or friendly, does it? But it might make all the difference to the person who received your smile or kind words. Think about your own experience with someone who has been a rainbow to you when you most needed it. I'm sure you've had it happen. We all have - just not enough.
So, listen to Maya and be a rainbow.