Today Oprah aired her very last show after 25 seasons. You know I was watching. She didn’t give away any cars or houses or trips. Instead, in a pretty classy move, she just said goodbye and thank you to all her viewers over the space of an hour in an understated but still powerful way. She ended by saying that she didn’t want to say goodbye, but instead would say ‘until we meet again.’ Funny, I have never met Oprah, but after all these years, I do feel like I know her, and boy, have we both come a long way in 25 years.
Twenty-five years ago today, I was 22 years old. I was living in the little paradise of Clarkton, NC- insulated from the rest of the world- caring for my little cherub, Jason. I was newly married and basking in the light of this beautiful baby and the slow delicious tempo of that very first year of his life. I never imagined what I had ahead of me. I am glad I didn’t know, either. I would not trade many of my experiences, however, because they all conspired to make me the person that I am today. I remember that girl from 25 years ago, but I am not her. I am a wiser, more self-actualized version of her. I know this might sound silly, but I can honestly say that Oprah did contribute along the way.
Oprah recalled a guest today who had suffered a stroke in her thirties. This woman was a doctor. She was highly educated and respected in her profession, but after her stroke many people discounted her and talked about her like she wasn’t in the room or did not even take the time to look into her eyes when they provided direct care. Her brain injury was to the left side of her brain which affected her speech, so she could not talk and found other things very difficult, but her compensating right brain allowed her some new perception. She could perceive people’s energies immediately, powerfully, and could know instantly if they brought negative or positive energy to her. She is fully recovered and wrote a memoir, which I still want to read, but the power of sensing energy has stayed with her and left its mark. Oprah shared that she keeps a pretty version of a quote from this woman in her office; it reads “Take responsibility for the energy you bring into this space.” That is powerful and it sums up a lot of what Oprah has shared over the years and what I have internalized. That we are responsible for ourselves and what we bring to the table each day and what we put out to others… that the energy we put out is the energy we get back.
She had her 4th grade teacher on as a guest, again. This woman must be 90. She is lovely and you can see the goodness in her eyes and the softness of her face. She made a difference in Oprah’s life because she acknowledged her. She ‘saw’ Oprah, she treated her with kindness, she let her pass out the graham crackers in her classroom, and in so many little ways, she validated Oprah. Oprah believes that this is what each of us desires– to be seen, to be recognized, appreciated, validated. Oprah, I agree.
Oprah uncovered the dysfunction in the world and said “you are not alone.” She was trusted and loved because she didn’t just try to extract everyone else’s secrets; she shared her own and became one of us. She is one of many strong women I have admired.
I’ll miss you, Oprah.