‘Having a Closet Full of Shoes Doesn’t Fill Up Your Life’ tells Oprah
As graduation season rolls around and universities attempt to recruit well-know speakers for their commencement addresses, Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia hit the jackpot.
Oprah Winfrey took the stage on Saturday to huge cheers from the Class of 2017. The media mogul spent time filming in the Atlanta metro area last year for her HBO movie, ‘The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.’
During her speech, Oprah focused on the importance of ‘living a life of substance’ and empathizing with others – especially those on the other side of the political divide.
She also made specific reference to an event she hosted in the immediate wake of the 2016 election, where she invited women who had supported Clinton and those who had backed Trump to have an open discussion together.
‘Nobody wanted to come to breakfast,’ Oprah said. ‘After two and a half hours I had those women not only eating croissants, but sitting around the table listening to each other’s struggles, hearing both sides and by the end they were holding hands and exchanging emails and phone numbers.
‘It’s possible. It can happen. I want you to work in your own way to change the world in respectful conversations with others.
‘I want you to enter every situation aware of its context, open to hear the truth of others and most important, open to letting the process of changing the world change you. That is the spirit of constructive engagement.’
Oprah talked about the more than 37,000 interviews she has conducted on ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’ over the past 25 years and told the graduates to try and understand what other people might be going through.
‘I had to learn to feel with others, which is what it means to be compassionate.
‘I feel with you. It means not only am I able to walk in your shoes, my heart beats with yours. I see myself in you.’
And amidst the life lessons, Oprah made sure to poke fun at herself – and her shoe collection.
‘I’ve made a living, I’ve made a life – I’ve made a fortune, really – all good – from being true to myself.
‘If I can leave you with any message today: the biggest reward is not financial benefits – though it’s really good, you can get a lot of great shoes.
‘Those of you who have a lot of shoes know having a closet full of shoes doesn’t fill up your life. Living a life of substance can. Substance through your service.’
While Oprah did not mention having any personal political aspirations, Agnes Scott President Elizabeth Kiss thought Oprah as president wouldn’t be the worst idea.
‘She is a trailblazer in so many ways,’ Kiss said while announcing Oprah.
‘In 2013 Oprah Winfrey was awarded a very well-deserved Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. There’s really nothing she can’t do. Maybe, just maybe, she will run for president.’
Image courtesy Wikipedia Commons
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