I had to say goodbye to an old friend last week.
Well, we’re not really friends, but I think we could be.
The closest I ever came to meeting her was when she appeared in court in Amarillo when the cattle industry sued her. I was in law school at Texas Tech. Just an hour and a half away, but of course, on the day that we were scheduled to sit in on the trial, the road between Lubbock and Amarillo was too icy to drive.
It’s just as well. I probably would’ve made a spectacle of myself.
I started coaching high school speech and debate the first year Oprah’s talk show was broadcast. And the more she talked, the more I connected with her. Especially when she honored her fourth grade teacher. Even more when her high school speech coach came on the show and they talked about the year that Oprah won nationals in oratory.
What I love about Oprah is her willingness to be real.
To be genuine, even when it wasn’t pretty. Childhood sexual abuse. A disconnected family. Weight. Self-image.
As she worked on herself, she gave us a safe place to work on ourselves. She made it okay to talk about things nobody wanted to talk about.
But we needed so desperately to talk.
So between Bob the trainer and Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz, we learned a lot about taking care of ourselves.
And we watched her give back in powerful ways.
Debunking the myths about AIDS through conversations with a boy named Ryan White.
Empowering girls through a school in Africa.
Providing scholarships to students at Morehouse College.
Sharing her favorite things.
We won’t agree on everything if we ever become friends.
But I want to be friends with anyone who attributes her success to her team and Jesus on national television.