“Each friend represents in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” –Anais Nin
The great novelist Louis Stevenson said, “A friend is a gift you give yourself.” I believe this with every fiber of my being. Our friends are the family we selected, not the family we are given. Often times the friends we’ve selected are the best family we could have ever wished for. James Baldwin & Maya Angelou were very close friends, even most cherished friends. Kahlil Gibran goes on to say,
“Your friend is your needs answered. He is your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving.” Sometimes, we see things in our friends that they don’t see in themselves and when this occurs we have a duty, a responsibility to tell them what we see. We may see some amazing talent that they have, that they never realized they had. We may see trouble, a new pattern of self-destruction because of drugs or excessive alcohol consumption. A true friend takes on the responsibility of sounding the alarm and yelling loudly–“FIRE!”
A story that best illustrates cherished friends is what happened with James Baldwin and Maya Angelou. James Baldwin released his novel ANOTHER COUNTRY and his publisher threw a big party in his honor. James Baldwin called Maya Angelou and asked her to come to the party as his guest. Maya gladly accepted the invitation and she came full of poise and charm; James Baldwin’s publisher was fascinated by Maya Angelou and he asked her many questions about her life. She told him her story. He told her, there was a book there, a book to be published by him! Yes friends, FRIENDS are the gifts we give ourselves. That invite by her cherished friend–Jimmy Baldwin changed Maya Angelou’s life and put her into the history books.
The very last time I saw Maya Angelou was at James Baldwin’s funeral, where she gave the eulogy for her cherished friend–Jimmy Baldwin.