Friday, June 11, 2021

Another book recommendation / JUST AS I AM, by Cicely Tyson

Cicely Tyson was interviewed shortly before she died on January 28, 2021.  It was after reading her book this past week that I found the interview.


"... A lesson before dying -- that is what Miles, in his passing, left for me.  We don't have long here, children.  Our hopes and aspirations may feel limitless, but our days are finite, our experiences fading in the twinkling of an eye.  Death is a love note to the living, to regard every day, every breath, as sacred.  "What is your life?" the scriptures ask us.  "You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes" (James 4:14, NIV).  The Spirit is ever beckoning us to heed that wisdom, to get on with what we've been put here to do.  And whatever that calling looks like, however it may seemingly vary from one person or season to the next, at its core, it is simply this:  cherish one another.  That is all.  That is our purpose in its entirety, to bestow God's care onto others.  "Do you think Miles knew just how loved he was?" a friend asked me after his passing.  Sadly, he did not.  That awareness is why now, in these times today, I hold my dear ones ever closer.

In the years immediately after Miles's passing, I grieved in the way that I always have, between the crevices of my art.  Stepping into another's reality gives me shelter from my own.  Slowly, as I become a conduit for someone else's anguish, the raw pain of my own throbs less.  Healing, as I see it, is not the absence of pain.  Rather, it is a gradual reduction in the ache.  The lessening of the hurt eventually makes room for fond memories to surface.  Miles has been gone for three decades now, and to this day, when I see a photo of him, or else recall one of his crazy sayings (Can't no one monkey stop a show," he'd quip when someone attempted to block his path), it can take me right back to our years together.  At the start of this journey called grief, I teared up upon remembering him.  These days, I do more smiling than weeping.  Though Miles is long gone, he is right here with me.  Our love story will never be finished.  After his passing, I went out with other men, some of them in the industry, none of whom I care to name.  Nothing serious came of it.  We're fortunate, in this life, if we've known true love once.  I have and I relished it." 
(p. 346-347)


"Each of you, my dear readers and viewers, has surrounded me with the sweet scent of your presence.  When I made the choice to devote my life to the stage, I did so with the hope that I might change one person -- just one.  God heard my quiet prayer and granted it a hundredfold, with grace beyond measure over all those decades.  Thank you for your abundant love to me during my journey.  In your care, I have flourished."
(p. 406)

1 comment:

37paddington said...

She was indeed a force.