Opinion

Maya Angelou and me

  • FILE - In this Nov. 21, 2008 file photo, poet Maya Angelou smiles at an event in Washington. Angelou, a Renaissance woman and cultural pioneer, has died, Wake Forest University said in a statement Wednesday, May 28, 2014. She was 86.  (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

    FILE - In this Nov. 21, 2008 file photo, poet Maya Angelou smiles at an event in Washington. Angelou, a Renaissance woman and cultural pioneer, has died, Wake Forest University said in a statement Wednesday, May 28, 2014. She was 86. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • Author Maya Angelou in a May 20, 2010, file photo.

    Author Maya Angelou in a May 20, 2010, file photo.  (A20102010)

Three years ago I hosted an "Evening with Maya Angelou" at Christ Church in Greenwich, Connecticut. 

Several weeks prior to her appearance I asked her if she would would tell me the names of her favorite hymns so we could perform them prior to her presentation. I told her I hoped she would comment on the songs and her spiritual journey during her talk. 

She enthusiastically agreed.

On the night of the event I spent an hour with Maya in the Green Room before she spoke. During our conversation she asked me what I was working on. When I told her I was writing a memoir she took hold of my forearm and began to sing "Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child." 

I was stunned. 

When she finished this impromptu musical blessing she smiled and said, "Now you be brave." 

I will cherish that moment for the rest of my life.

One of the hymns Maya requested we sing was "Fly Away." 

My friend Solveig Chaffee captured the performance with her iPhone. My brilliant and lifelong friend Rob Mathes was the musical director that night. 

It was magical.

Ian Morgan Cron is the bestselling author of "Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me...A Memoir...of Sorts" and "Chasing Francis: A Pilgrim's Tale." His latest book, co-authored with Suzanne Stabile, is "The
Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey of Self-Discovery
" (InterVarsity Press, October 4, 2016). Follow him on Twitter @iancron.