Oprah gave us twenty-five years of her life… and now it’s our turn to change the world.
Something happened to me yesterday, or technically, I suppose it was today since it is 4:07 am. (You see, that is the sort of chaos that happens when you have an Aha! Moment — courtesy of Oprah Winfrey and all that she touches — you don’t sleep, and reference words like ‘yesterday’ get fuzzy.)
So, the show is ending, and while watching the second to the last episode of the Oprah Winfrey Show, I got one more rather epic wake-up call. She’s out of here, gone, fled the building… and she’s leaving us in charge of this planet.
Yes, there is the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) where we can find many of Oprah’s Favorite Things… er, I mean, people, but the whole in-my-living-room-every-afternoon-with-a-show-that-alters-the-way-I-see-the-world-and-more-importantly-see-myself thing is over. Our worlds have been rocked and she’s no longer going to be coming by everyday to say, “You’re awesome. I believe in you. You can totally do this.”
She just wants us to go rock it.
I watched the two-part celebration with all of the tears I anticipated last week but there was something I didn’t expect. I’m assuming they (‘they’ being the magicians who planned what may have been the most lovely going away party in history) meant to honor Oprah. I’m certain they intended us to remember. Probably, they even intended for those of us who haven’t been paying quite enough attention to learn about some of the extraordinary ways that Oprah’s money, time, and energy have shown up in the world to make a difference.
Now, perhaps it’s just the tradition: Girl watches Oprah and said girl gets a wake-up call. I mean, that’s what happens when you watch the show and it may just be my Pavlovian response to twenty-five years of Oprah ringing my bell, but honestly… I don’t think this was planned.
I felt Oprah Winfrey pass us the baton.
No, I don’t mean in the here-Christy-take-my-show way. I’m a life coach and writer who has dreamed about being “discovered” by Oprah, Dr. Phil type empowerment agent for the Wild Ones. (Yes, I even auditioned for a show on the new network, but didn’t get a call back.) While I am admittedly a little shaken by the sudden uncertainty around my “big break,” this ‘Aha! Moment’ wasn’t about that part of me.
This is about me, the every day woman who has absolutely no reason to believe she can change the world… except, that I know I must.
This is about us. All of us. She wants us to leave the nest, to spread our wings and do something magical with our lives. Sure, some already have and we have been inspired by their stories through this entire final season.
But, this is about the rest of us. You and me, and me and you. The Monday/Tuesday show reminded us of some of what she’s done… and it’s oh so much. But, there at the very end, Dr. Maya Angelou powerfully reminded us about how Oprah Winfrey came into this world.
She was, in the beginning, perhaps the most unsuspecting change agent of our time. She was invisible to our society. She was completely without all of the things that make what she’s done actually possible. She was abused. She was poor. She came from uneducated people. And she’s black, and she’s struggled with her weight… and on and on with the reasons all of this might not have been.
Remarkably, because of all of that… as opposed to in spite of all of that, she is Oprah. She has harnessed all that she ever was, and all that she is today, and used every ounce of that pain and passion, magic and motion… to do her part to change the world.
And now… it is our turn. It is our turn to love instead of hate. It is our turn to ask questions when something makes us feel afraid. It’s our turn to read books and share them with the people we love. It’s our turn to share talented artists. It’s our turn to make sure that no woman ever believes the bullshit her abusive husband tells her about her worth. It is our turn to put down the damn cookies and feel what makes us sad and afraid and lonely. It is our turn to be the connected enlightened human beings that she made. It’s our turn to be a source of light and optimism and courage.
She believes in herself and it enabled her to believe in us. Now, it is time for us to believe in us. Thank you for running a hell of a first twenty-five laps, Oprah Winfrey. We will take it from here.
Image credit: tableatny via flickr
Leaving With Oprah