By Tom Comi
For many people like me who weren’t loyal Oprah watchers, her farewell tour on the surface might have been about all of the A-list celebrities who sang her praises at a special gathering at Chicago’s United Center.
For those who watched faithfully for the past 25 years, though, this send-off was much more about what she stood for as a person and how she used her international platform to make the world a better place.
Nobody can discount the stars who came out in her honor in the shows that aired Monday and Tuesday. Tom Hanks, Will Smith, Patti LaBelle, Jerry Seinfeld, Tom Cruise, Stevie Wonder, Madonna, Aretha Franklin, Michael Jordan, Maya Angelou and Halle Berry were just some of those who honored her work.
Wednesday’s finale, however, was much more quaint and personal. Filmed in her studio with a small audience, Oprah simply spoke to her viewers directly to thank them for the past and to hold them accountable for their actions in the future. Coming from anybody else, it would have been perceived as preaching; coming from Oprah, it came across as a challenge for each of us to be to become better people.
Here are some of Oprah’s nuggets of wisdom from her final show:
- “Something in me connected with each of you in a way that allowed me to see myself in you and you in me. I listened and grew, and I know you grew along with me. Sometimes I was a teacher, and more often you taught me. It is no coincidence that I always wanted to be a teacher, and I ended up in the world’s biggest classroom. And this, my friends, will be our last class from this stage.”
- “I want to leave you with the lessons that have been the anchor of my life and the ones I hold most precious … This is what I was called to do. Everybody has a calling. Your real job in life is to figure out what it is and to get about the business of doing it … I hope you will take from this show to live from the heart of yourself … You have to know what sparks the light in you, so you in your own way can illuminate the world.”
- “Each one of you has your own platform. Mine is a stage in a studio, yours is wherever you are, with your own reach, however small or however large that reach is … your family, your friends, your neighbors, your classmates, your classroom, your co-workers, wherever you are are, that is your platform, your stage, your circle of influence, that is your talk show. And that is where your power lies. And every way and every day, you are showing people exactly who you are; you’re letting your life speak for you. And when you do that, you will receive in direct proportion to how you give.”
- My great wish for you …is that you carry whatever you’re supposed to be doing forward. And don’t waste any more time. Start embracing the life that is calling you, and use your life to serve the world.”
- “Nobody but you is responsible for your life. You are responsible for the energy that you create for yourself, and you are responsible for the energy you bring to others …For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. That is the abiding law that I live by … You are responsible for your life. And when you get that, everything changes, my friends; so don’t wait for someone else to fix you, to change your or complete you.”
- “There is a common thread that runs through all of our pain and all of our suffering and that is unworthiness — not feeling worthy enough to own the life you were created for … There is a difference between thinking you deserve to be happy and knowing you are worthy of happiness.”
- “Every single person you ever will meet will want to know, ‘Do you see me, do you hear me, does what I say mean anything to you.’ ”
- “I have felt the presence of God my whole life … What I know is God is love, and God is life. And your life is always speaking to you … What is it saying?”
- “You all have been a safe harbor for me for 25 years. What I hope is that you all will be that safe harbor for somebody else. Do for them what you all are telling me this show has done for you — connect, embrace, liberate, love somebody and then spread that to two and as many as you can. You’ll see the difference it makes.”
- “Many of us have been together for 25 years … I thank you all for your support and your trust in me … I thank you for being as much of a sweet inspiration for me as I’ve tried to be to you.”