"Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Plank Pullin': The one where I don't like Oprah

It’s Plank Pullin’ time! The one day a week that we strongly resolve to ignore the multitude of specks and sawdust around us and pull one bona fide plank from our own eye. Matthew 7:3-5, style.




Yesterday, Oprah Winfrey aired her final show after 25 years on the air. I share that just in case you've, well, been living under a rock... or maybe heard the weeping in the streets and wondered what it was all about.

Yes, the era of Oprah is over. And I feel.... sad. Not because I'll miss the show (I hardly ever watched it) and not because I was a fan of Oprah (I pretty much spent the past 25 years disliking her intensely) No, I'm sad because I've been doing the same thing to Oprah that so hurts me when it's done to me: I was judging her without knowing her. I found her arrogant and self-serving, using her show as a platform for HER. Using her jillions of dollars to help other people, yes, but also to show the world how wonderful and giving SHE is.

And then this morning I watched her finale, for no other reason than to scoff and roll my eyes and be glad that it was all over. And I don't know if it was because I went to bed - and subsequently woke up - feeling sad, or if it was because I've been humbled by my own "hate mail" I've received of late, but for what was literally the first time I felt like I truly "got" her. I realized that Oprah and I are not that different (billions of dollars and worldwide fame aside)

And the fact is,
I don't know what kind of person she's like behind closed doors.
I don't know how much giving she does that she *doesn't* share with her audience.
I don't know what insecurities she has, or what she's not proud of, or what kind of mistakes she's made.
I'm not privy to her relationships with her friends, her family, and her loved ones.

I do know that she seems to genuinely want to help people, and is genuinely interested in living an authentic, meaningful life and paving the way for others to do the same. I do know that she seemed humbled, and grateful, and sincere as she thanked her viewers, her staff, and God.

And all that mushy-gushy rainbows and unicorn and lets-all-love-one-another stuff she was always talking about? I honestly want that, too. Her platform just happened to be a deeply loved, national talk show... and mine is a little blog. But we're on the same side.

And so, Oprah, it's taken me 25 years, but I am truly sorry for judging you. You have done a great thing with your show, and have touched many people. I am sure that outside of the lights and the cameras and the hoopla, that you are a beautiful person - inside and out - and one who is deeply loved by those who really know you.

Oh, and if you run into Dr Phil, tell him I'm working up to an apology for him too.






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