It was 1974.
It was a different world. It was when books were – well books.
As a teenage boy, I was fulfilling my obligation, and went to the book and author luncheon. My mother spoke (eloquently I might add), as did Maya Angelou. However, I had never heard of Maya Angelou.
My mother was so excited; I guess I was as well. When we sat at dinner, Maya Angelou talked about the day, shared stories with my mother – then turned to me and asked, “What are you interested in?”
At the time, I was interested in sports, my friends, girls and just making money over the summer.
My summer job was working as an apprentice to a construction contractor. I did not know what I was interested in – I just knew what I was doing at the time.
My answer, “I am working in construction, remodeling houses.”
“Do you like it?” Maya asked.
I said I thought so. Then I remember what she said. “That is good. It is important to love what you do, and be aware of what you are doing.”
At the time, it had some meaning. But over the years, it has had more meaning. And, I have gotten more perspective to understand the meaning.
I know today that I am doing what I do because I love it. I can’t say that I am totally aware in every moment – after all, how many of us are?
But I have never forgotten dinner with Maya Angelou – this famous woman I had never heard of – until the day we had dinner.
And, in her comment to me – it was part of the beginning of my own awareness.
To quote a passage from Maya Angelou’s book, I Know Why The Cage Bird Sings, “Without willing it, I had gone from being ignorant of being ignorant to being aware of being aware. And, the worst part of my awareness was that I didn’t know what I was aware of.”
Maya, I still may not always know what I am aware of – but thank you for your life that has made us all more aware.