As I write this in August 2019, the amazing writer Toni Morrison has just died at age 88. Her writing prowess is legendary, but in the way she accepted the greatest honor of her life, she taught me an important life lesson I will never forget.
Tributes to Toni Morrison
Toni Morrison was the first African American woman to win the Nobel Prize for literature when it was awarded to her in 1993. The tributes to her as a writer and a person are many and moving:
Her greatness was absolute. Her words changed worlds. Her work always belonged to the immortal, and her name will never be forgotten.” ~Elizabeth Gilbert
Toni Morrison was a national treasure, as good a storyteller, as captivating, in person as she was on the page. Her writing was a beautiful, meaningful challenge to our conscience and our moral imagination. ~President Barack Obama
Toni Morrison took the word and turned it into a Song…of Solomon, of Sula, Beloved, Mercy, Paradise Love, and more…She was a magician with language, who understood the Power of words. She used them to roil us, to wake us, to educate us and help us grapple with our deepest wounds and try to comprehend them. ~Oprah Winfrey
As powerful as these testimonies are, I read one story about Toni Morrison that contained a life lesson I will cherish and embrace as long as I live.
Toni Morrison showed us how to shine
In her own moving tribute to Morrison, writer Elizabeth Gilbert recounted a story of meeting her idol in 1994, soon after Morrison had received the Nobel Prize. She remembers Morrison being asked what it felt like to win that illustrious award. Gilbert recounts: “She smiled broadly and said, ‘I knew right away, as soon as the phone call came in, how I would respond. I knew that this was not the time to be humble.'”
Gilbert went on: “How often do you hear a woman say, of her own achievement, ‘This is not the time to be humble’? She knew who she was. She knew WHAT she was. And she celebrated it. With great joy and power.”
Are you hiding your glory under a bushel?
It’s true that many women are not good at letting their light shine, but this life lesson should apply to anyone.The #HeartspokenLife should rest comfortably and firmly on the foundation of our true worth.Click To Tweet
I’m reminding myself of this truth as much as I am reminding you.
Of course I’m not advocating that we brag about ourselves.I'm talking about the deep self-knowledge and self-acceptance that allows us to claim our own glory, our own gifts, our own achievements.Click To Tweet They have been given to us by God to put to work in service to the world.
Don’t hide them under a bushel.
Click these book cover images to learn more about Toni Morrison’s best-loved books on Amazon (When you order books through my Amazon affiliate links, you pay the lowest Amazon price and help support this blog. Thank you.):