Maya Angelou was a great poet, memoirist and civil rights activist. I had the fortunate opportunity to see her speak at my university freshman year of college. Granted this was a convocation event that was mandated by the Teaching Fellows, but I am so grateful that I went because I had the great opportunity to hear Maya Angelou speak.
One thing that will always stick in my head was when she said, "Try to be a rainbow in someone else's cloud." Didn't you just get the slightest chill from reading that? How prophetically simple if you think about it. Everyone, not just you, has bad days. Days that are filled with oppressive clouds where the person just can't see their way out of the darkness. These days, weeks or months may seem unbearable to live through. That is where the rainbow comes in. A rainbow can make the darkest days brighter. You may see a rainbow after a storm passes and no matter how bad the storm was you have a sense of peace that the outcome of it is a beautiful rainbow. You can be someone's rainbow. Simple as that.
To me this means try to be a person that brightens someone's day. Try to be a person that someone can turn to in the darkness. Try to be someone that would be there for someone at the drop of a hat. Try to be a person who puts their feelings and worries aside to lift others spirits up when they are down. Try to be a person that has a personality that people gravitate towards. Try to be a person that has a calming, warm effect on others. Try to be a person that others want around through good times and bad times.
We are only given a limited number of days on this earth and we truly don't know how much time we are allotted. Wouldn't you prefer to spend your days making people's lives brighter? Wouldn't you want to be that person someone can turn to? Wouldn't you want the words that people use to describe you as be kind, caring, compassionate, selfless, steadfast, reliable and understanding? Wouldn't you want to be the reason someone's day is made?
It sounds like a pretty good, and easy, deal to me. We have the possibility and the privilege to be a rainbow in someone else's clouds. Why would you ever want to pass that up?
Think about this awesome opportunity. Someone was lonely before you, someone was mistreated before you, someone's days were darker before you and yet, someone may have survived because of you.
The Internet is still contemplating this discovery (the jury is still out), but apparently it takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile. So smile! You never know how that small action can brighten someone's day. Choose to be the reason why someone may get every morning. Choose to be the person that others want to be around. Choose to the person that others refer to as a phenomenon because they don't know how they got so lucky to have you in their life. Choose to be a rainbow.
At the end of Maya Angelou's speech, she said that the reason why she speaks is because she wanted to be a rainbow in someone else's cloud. Well, mission accomplished.