As of this afternoon, there will be millions of grieving, forlorn women. Their longtime friend who visited daily for 25 years will not be knocking on their door today. For some, she is even a childhood friend, and they have grown up together with tears and laughter, compassion and outrage, and literally through thick and thin. After 5000 visits, Oprah is no longer coming over for a cup of afternoon coffee.
Oprah, I am sure, relished having so many viewers. Little can she conceive how intimately these women are attached. She was welcome in their homes. She ruled their schedules. She filled an hour of their day. Since 1986, she was their best friend.
My mother never watched Oprah, but she was glued to the news. Every afternoon, Carol Marin, a local Chicago newscaster, appeared right across the room from where my mom sat on the couch. Mom welcomed her, and if one of us was there, she would comment on Carol’s hair or clothing choice. My mom was not so pathetic as it sounds, but in her eyes, Carol was her friend who came every afternoon to see her. My parents’ house at the time was across the street from the high school. One day during a so-called earth-shattering news event, the television cameras were lined up across the street. Mom always kept a stealth eye on what happened at the school, vigilant particularly during the sit-ins and protests during the Viet Nam war. As she peered out from behind the curtains, she spotted Carol, getting ready for the broadcast. Mom dashed across the street, probably still in her slippers, ran up to Carol, and hugged her like a long-lost friend. I am sure that Carol was duly shocked and delighted at the same time. Mom talked about it for weeks.
That is the kind of attachment I am sure that Oprah had, even though most women I know always said to me, “Well, I just so happened to see Oprah the other day, and she said….” as if it were a rare occurrence. But there was a tremendous draw and impact through this television idol.
“Now what will I do?” many will ask today as they scroll through the channels. The only thing God never meant you to do is to live a mediocre life. God has something special in mind for every one of us. Day by day by day, and we are too distracted to know it. As Donald Miller wrote in his book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, “get up and do something.”
Think about what you can do with one hour a day. God can change the world.
“My times are in Your hand.”