August 5, 2019 we lost an amazing writer. Toni Morrison passed away at the age of 88. And to be honest – he words changed me in a lot of ways. Her words encouraged me to write
The first time I ever heard of Toni Morrison, was back in my college days. I took a class called “The Nobel Laureates of the NorthWest”. Well, my mind figured it would be about the winners in the Northwest United States. Nope, not exactly. Northwestern Hemisphere. Just a smidge larger.
Anyway, in this class, we were assigned to read 5 books from 5 Nobel Laureates. One of the books I chose, was Beloved by Toni Morrison. And I was hooked. (Fun Fact, that novel also won a Pulitzer Prize.) But the story, was just – entrancing. I couldn’t put it down. Sethe, the protagonist of the novel, will break your heart while standing in awe at her resilience. That’s all I will say so I don’t ruin it. Fast forward to yesterday.
I had a blog post written, and I pulled it down. Because I knew I wanted to write about Toni Morrison, and I wouldn’t have time to do it justice until late tonight. So, you are getting it a day late. Sorry about that. But today, I got a blog notification from Brene Brown, and she was talking about Toni Morrison. (If you aren’t aware, this is just further proof that Brene Brown and I are supposed to BFFs… LOL!) Well, she was talking about how much she loved her also, and she brought up an Oprah interview. Of course, I google it – and I watch it. Below is from Brene’s blog, quoting Toni Morrison. I just can’t word it any clearer.
She asked, “Does your face light up?”
She explained, “When my children used to walk in the room when they were little, I looked at them to see if they had buckled their trousers or if their hair was combed or if their socks were up. You think your affection and your deep love is on display because you’re caring for them. It’s not. When they see you, they see the critical face. What’s wrong now?”
Her advice was simple, but paradigm-shifting for me. She said:
“Let your face speak what’s in your heart. When they walk in the room my face says I’m glad to see them. It’s just as small as that, you see?”
Boom. Wow. Quake. Think about that. And I thought about all the times that I have pulled into the garage, and little feet come running out the door excited to see me – and what do I say? “GET IN THE HOUSE! WHAT IF I HADN’T SEEN YOU AND HAD HIT YOU!?” Little feet scurry back inside. Ugh. I would give anything to turn back time to those moments and change it. All I can do, is apologize now – explain why – and try to change it. They are my whole heart. I never want them to think for a second that I don’t want to see them. I can’t let fear, bad moods, sickness or anything else – come between them knowing that they have a strong and powerful purpose.
Take it one step farther. Your boyfriend or girlfriend. Husband or wife. Parents. Does your face light up when you see them? If you hadn’t seen them for a month, would it be any different? A year? If you thought you would never see them again, but you got another chance? Listen. I ain’t judging, cause I am going to tell you the truth. For YEARS of my life, my modus operandi was this – If I liked a boy, I played it cool. If I was excited to see him, I played it cool. Don’t show that you are happy or excited. That will make you weak. Then they have the upper hand. And apparently everything in my life was some type of crazy display of power.
Until the day I decided that I just don’t care. If I am happy to see you – I am going to hug you and show it. Simple as that.
So today, take a second, and look lovingly at your kids. Really, do it to anyone you love. But hey, they are little. Start there. And read a book. Or get on Audible.
Love Fully. Live Fully. Sat Nam.
The first book of Toni Morrison I read was “The Bluest Eye” and since that day she was one of my favorite writers…!! ❤ I was shocked and heartbroken when I heard she passed away. Thank you for writing such an amazing post for her….!!
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Ahh! Thank you!!! “The Bluest Eye” – such an amazing piece too! And isn’t it amazing, how we don’t even consider the mortality of such an Influential person! I think, that I somehow assume, that because I value their works and opinions- I take for granted that they may not always be here.
And I started this blog as a widow. One would think I would be able to grasp it now. But I still can’t. Not completely.
Child-like naivety, I suppose. It can be comforting.
She is going to be missed. For sure. Thank you for taking the time to honor her with the comment and sweet words!
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