Sometimes gifted writers, like Maya Angelou, feel prefer a friend because they invite you into their heart and also mind with such a generosity of soul. It’s no wonder that millions about the civilization are grieving her death. Though we didn’t ‘know’ her, we came right into her world through the 31 books, essays, plays and also poetry that she so eloquently composed. I loved presenting her writings via college students.

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In the cacophony of voices of praise for Angelou’s evocative writings and also dramatic readings, I deserve to imagine she could shout out, “WAIT, WAIT, WAIT! Please remember that a couple of very necessary people came into my life throughout pivotal moments. Without their kindness and also wisdom, I can never have actually found my voice. Literally!”

Due to the fact that for nearly five long years, bit Marguerite Johnchild (currently famed as Maya Angelou), was mute.

A Childhood Experience

As an eight-years old, while living in St. Louis, her mother’s boyfrifinish raped her and then was murdered. After this life-changing trauma, she ended up being unwilling to talk, except to her brother Bailey.

Her mother then sent out Marguerite and Bailey ago to live aget through their grandmom, Annie Henderson, in Stamps, Arkansas. A hard-working entrepreneur, her grandmommy owned the General Store in this deeply segregated Southern tvery own.

After years of continuing to be silent, she knowledgeable a heart-healing friendship with Mrs. Bertha Flowers, an aristocratic beautiful Afrihave the right to Amerihave the right to woguy who frequently went to the General Store.

“She handed me my first life-line,” recalls Maya in her groundbreaking memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

One summer afternoon, to her surpclimb, Mrs. Flowers invited Maya to involved her house wbelow she offered her cold fresh lemonade and also homemade sugar cookies.

But more crucial, she talked through her about the beauty of the humale voice. “I hear you’re doing extremely great institution work-related, Marguerite, but that it’s all composed. The teachers report they have trouble gaining you to talk in course,” shelp Mrs. Flowers, that loved literature.

“Now no one is going to make you talk—probably no one have the right to. Your grandmom says you read a lot. Eextremely chance you get. That’s excellent, but not excellent sufficient. Words intend even more than what is collection dvery own on paper. It takes the human voice to infusage them with the shades of deeper meaning.”

The Power of the Human being Voice

Then Mrs. Flowers carried out A Tale of Two Cities and opened the web page and also read aloud the opening, “It was the ideal of times; it was the worst of times.”

“I heard poeattempt for the initially time in my life,” recalls Maya, mesmerized by the sounds. Mrs. Flowers provided her a book of poems and also asked her to memorize one for her. “Next off time you pay a visit, I desire you to remention.” She ran house that day with books in hand and her heart over-flowing. “I was liked and what a difference it made. She had made cookies for me and also check out to me from her favorite book.”

This began a friendship that Maya knows changed her life as Mrs. Flowers presented her to authors such as Charles Dickens, William Shakespeare, and also Edgar Allen Poe.

Responding to such kindness, Maya started to stop aget.

I love her tribute to Mrs. Flowers because Maya reminds us that daily acts of producing kindness can sell healing balm. What our civilization would certainly have lost if Mrs. Flowers failed to act on her problem for a kid silenced by pain.

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As family members that are living via grief, her story reminds me to never before underestimate the heart-healing power of kindness, both to provide and obtain from one one more. As Maya claims so eloquently, it may even be a ‘life-line.’


Linda Hunt

Linda Lawrence Hunt, Ph.D. is a freelance writer, and co-founder of the Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship, and also former Whitworth College professor where she directed their distinctive Writing Program. After their 25-year-old married daughter passed away while volunteering in Boliusing when a bus plunged over a hill cliff, Linda and also her husband Jim began the structure in her honor. As it flourished, she left her teaching career to direct the foundation that offers a mentoring neighborhood and support for other young adults in their twenties engaged in a year or even more of company in America"s city centers, in arising countries, or via environmental projects. She has traveled throughout America and also in Germany and also Norway as a keynote speaker after her best-marketing book Bold Spirit: Helga Estby"s Forgotten Walk throughout Victorian America was publimelted. Reconstruc ting this true story of a mom and daughter walking unescorted throughout America on a $10,000 wager to save a family members farm associated over 15 years of research study. At some point she composed her doctdental dissertation on Helga"s story, with certain fascination with what silences family members stories given that this was "lost" for over 100 years.Linda and her husband also Jim, also an author and also chronicler, live in a hillside house in Spokane, Washington wright here she finds nurture and also healing via her passion for gardening and friendships.