Rising From The Rubble

The Phoenix ©FrogDiva Photography

The other day I wrote briefly about rising from the rubble, rebuilding my life, my self, and parts of my soul. One of the most powerful poems of Dr. Maya Angelou has been a guiding light throughout this process, and it is not the first time I share it here. Nevertheless, I sometimes need to remind myself of the inner strength and ability to rise above the rubble, not allowing life and others to drag me down.

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
’Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
’Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

_ Dr. Maya Angelou, And Still I Rise

As I walked home last night in the rain, darkness and bitter cold, I felt absolutely miserable, wishing with all my heart that I was some place sunny and warm, far away from Berlin. I love walking in the rain, but nothing is more depressing than doing so alone in the dark on a winter night when my brain and bones are tired. But when I reached home, found some packages waiting for me at the door, my eye fell on yet another anonymous gift left for me by a kind soul. This makes gift #3 from this invisible angel (flashback: the first was the bag of potatoes, followed by the frog, and last night was a pack of six red apples for yesterday’s Feast of St. Nicholas (Nikolausfest).

This was another love note from life that the darkness and rotten weather is all temporary.

I rise
I rise
I rise

While contemplating this situation of rising above the rubble, I suddenly remembered this photograph I took of my daughter in Florence two winters ago. In one of the many charming back alleys of this magical city we stumble upon the graffiti of angel wings on the walls of a building and decided to fool around a bit with the cameral. The results, as you can see for yourself, spoke to my soul and hers. We have both had a truly difficult year, but we rose above it all, and continue to rise.

Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise

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