This weekend was a world wind, and everything but a blur.
Earlier in the week, I spoke with my sister/friend Dr. Barbara King.
Dr. B is a pastor and leader in the New Thought movement and she's also a very long time friend of Dr. Maya Angelou.
When Dr. Angelou made her transition, as the old folks, Dr. B. felt it hard. She and Maya had spent many a nights and mornings, and days together dealing with life and the struggles thereof. They were mates; girlfriends, hanging buddies and cohorts. Together, they could talk about the things that only women their age understood and even knew.
Every Thanksgiving, Dr. Angelou would hold a big gathering at her estate where family and friends would connect. Dr. B often invited me to join her for the trip, but I’d refuse. I’m awkward with new folks and whenever Dr. Angelou was in the room, I felt as if my new shoes were run over.
Dr. Angelou never made me feel that way. I did it on my own. She only encouraged me and told me that she thought I was brilliant and talented, while all I could do was look at my shoes.
Dr. B. had seen so many dear friends leave and I could hear the burden of loneliness. Dr. B. is one of the last of a line of women who were made from the stuff that made my mother strong and proud. I asked her what I could do and she said, “Come to Hillside.”
So Jeanine, my manager and sister/friend got in the car, sang, and listened to a book on tape as we drove from Savannah to Atlanta through a huge storm.
When we arrived, we realized that we had sang the same song the whole way.
“Hear my cry oh God, attend unto my prayer. From the ends of the earth will I cry unto thee. When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to that rock that is higher than I, that is higher than I.”
The next morning, I spoke at the Hillside service as my sister, Dr. B had requested. We hugged laughed and danced, and then Jeanine and I got back in the car and sang some more. This time the Beetles, LOVE song was sang and twisted into every variation John Lennon had never imagined and then we were back home.
When we arrived, my daughter had stepped into my place and had cooked for our Sunday gathering of folks who come to have dinner and watch a documentary.
In a weekend, I know this, that when we feel loss, lonely or lacking; when we cry out to God, we need to come together. We need to touch and see and connect. Somebody in your line has to step up and provide the space and meal. Someone has to get up from their own home and get to that of another. We have to come out of the pain of the moment we are in to be with one another. For as John Lennon and Maya and my mother and so many before them said, Love is all you need.
Be you, be well, be connected.
Bertice Berry, PhD.