Actually, I expected to write something a little bit snarky about Oprah’s final show.  While I’ve always liked her and acknowledged the genuine good she has accomplished, I (like many others) was sometimes turned off by the near Oprah worship sometimes exhibited by her fans.
But, to her credit, she acknowledges that her message is not, and should not be, about her.

Likewise, I wasn’t crazy about her suggestion during the 2008 presidential campaign that Barack Obama might be “The One” (the one what I’m not sure). To me, the connotation was a bit more mystical then I’m comfortable conferring on any would-be president no matter how much I may approve of him or her.  I think that goes down as one of Oprah’s missteps.

The two-day run-up to yesterday’s finale was also almost comically reverential toward Oprah herself — actually reminding me of an old SNL sketch in which I believe it was Tim Meadows who portrayed her as a religious figure known as “The Oprah.”

But, on her last show, freed from the trappings of pomp and celebrity adulation, Oprah simply addressed her audience from a modest stage. It was Oprah at her best — connecting with her viewers on a deep level and actually offering some genuine wisdom. She broke through my cynicism and won me over.

So, snark be gone! Here are the Top 10 excerpts from what she said:

1. “Everybody has a calling, and your real job in life is to figure out what that is and get about the business of doing it…You have to make a living; I understand that. But you also have to know what sparks the light in you so that you, in your own way, can illuminate the world.”

2. Each one of you has your own platform…Maybe it’s 20 people, maybe it’s 30 people, 40 people, your family, your friends, your neighbors, your classmates, your classroom, your co-workers. Wherever you are, that is your platform, your stage, your circle of influence. That is your talk show, and that is where your power lies. In every way, in 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 in whatever platform you have…Start embracing the life that is calling you and use your life to serve the world.””

3. “Nobody but you is responsible for your life. It doesn’t matter what your mama did; it doesn’t matter what your daddy didn’t do. You are responsible for your life. … You are responsible for the energy that you create for yourself, and you’re responsible for the energy that you bring to others.

4. “I would tell you that every single person you will ever meet shares that common desire. They want to know: ‘Do you see me? Do you hear me? Does what I say mean anything to you?…Try it with your children, your husband, your wife, your boss, your friends. Validate them. ‘I see you. I hear you. And what you say matters to me.'”‘

5. “People often ask me, What is the secret of success of the show? How have we lasted 25 years? I nonjokingly say, ‘My team and Jesus.’ Because nothing but the hand of God has made this possible for me. … I know I’ve never been alone, and you haven’t either. And I know that that presence, that flow—some people call it grace—is working in my life at every single turn. And yours too, if you let it in. It’s closer than your breath, and it is yours for the asking.”

6. “I have felt the presence of God my whole life. Even when I didn’t have a name for it, I could feel the voice bigger than myself speaking to me, and all of us have that same voice. Be still and know it. You can acknowledge it or not. You can worship it or not. You can praise it, you can ignore it or you can know it. Know it. It’s always there speaking to you and waiting for you to hear it in every move, in every decision. I wait and I listen. I’m still—I wait and listen for the guidance that’s greater than my meager mind.”

7. “God is love and God is life, and your life is always speaking to you. First in whispers.”

8. “Whispers are always messages, and if you don’t hear the message, the message turns into a problem. And if you don’t handle the problem, the problem turns into a crisis. And if you don’t handle the crisis, disaster. Your life is speaking to you. What is it saying?”

9. “Connect. Embrace. Liberate. Love somebody. Just one person. And then spread that to two. And as many as you can. You’ll see the difference it makes.

10. “Gratitude is the single greatest treasure I will take with me from this experience.”

Good luck, Oprah. And thanks for putting some positive ideas into the culture.

You can read the entire transcript from Oprah’s final show here.

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

More from Beliefnet and our partners
previous posts

Here’s the latest dispatch from the crossroads of faith and media: A Christmas Carol. Christmas episodes used to be a staple of network sitcoms but seem much less common these days. Since Carol Second Act is pretty much an ode the art of the traditional sitcom, it’s nice to see the show which stars Patricia […]

Here’s the latest dispatch from the crossroads of faith and media: Riding Waves of praise. Set against the vibrant landscape of South Florida, Waves traces the epic emotional journey of a suburban African-American family confronted with a shocking event that threatens to tear the family apart. The movie which open wide this Thanksgiving weekend has […]

Here’s the latest dispatch from the crossroads of faith and media: Waves opens in select theaters tonight (Nov. 15) and wide over Thanksgiving weekend (Nov. 29). Rated R for adult themes, language and one violent incident. Synopsis (from the film’s website): Set against the vibrant landscape of South Florida, and featuring an astonishing ensemble of […]

Here’s the latest dispatch from the crossroads of faith and media: Harriet Tubman and film producer Debra Martin Chase are having a moment. The long-awaited film Harriet opened strong in 2,059 theaters nationwide last weekend, pulling in an impressive $12 million over three days and ranking fourth at the domestic box office. That’s significantly higher […]