While watching Oprah’s final farewell show today, there was undeniably a strange sense of loss rousing from deep within.
I say strange because out of the twenty-five years she has been around, I can probably count on my fingers, and maybe some toes, how many times I have actually sat down to watch her much heralded show.
Regardless of the count, just knowing that the Queen of Talk was no longer going to fill those lazy after-school hours between 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. was, quite frankly, a sad thought indeed.
Though there were no A-list guests or over-the-top giveaways, not even any sparkling confetti explosions during the final minutes, the show was perfect in that it was all about the very lady who took the stage decades ago and her infamous words, words, words-- words that many women and men all over the world have cherished to the very core.
Alexander Petri, writer for The Washington Post called Oprah’s last show “a sort of Oprah’s Last Supper, with the Queen of Daytime sitting down and reminding her flock to Abide By Her Teachings and Do This In Remembrance Of Me.”
I couldn’t have said it any better.
While millions of misty-eyed viewers, or “students” listened on, Oprah, who called herself a teacher “in the classroom called the Oprah Winfrey Show” effortlessly imparted her last words, giving one final lesson plan amidst a sea of thanks.
The overarching theme? How to be a better you.
With advice like “nobody but you is responsible for your life” and “live from the heart of yourself,” all of her lessons were in no way, parting from her years worth of counsel on the show.
“I talked to nearly 30,000 people on the show. And all 30,000 had one thing in common. They all wanted validation...every single person shares that common desire. Validate them.”
She also shared, “We often block our own blessings because we don’t feel inherently good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, worthy enough. You’re worthy because you are born and because you are here... You alone are enough.”
Thanking her audience for teaching her about love just as she had taught them, she read from a few messages on her site from avid viewers. “I read this post a few days ago: Sweet, sweet Oprah, I didn’t know I had a life in me until you told me it was there.”
Grateful that her loyal following allowed her to honor her calling through the show, she exhorted her fans to stop wasting any time and find their own calling as well.
“You have to know what sparks the light in you so you in your own way can illuminate the world.”
“Use your life to serve the world,” the talk show host stated. “We all here are aligned with the vision of service, to you, our viewers.”
Though there seemed to be an undertone of service throughout her final segment, there was also a lingering element of self-- self-power, self-hope.
“Don’t wait for somebody else to fix you, save you, complete you. ‘Jerry Maguire’ was just a movie. No one completes you.”
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
“There is a difference between thinking you deserve to be happy and knowing that you are worthy of happiness.”
For years and years, many Christians have discredited Oprah’s belief in Jesus and in God. But after watching this last show, what I saw was not disbelief, but rather a belief that was although masked in “deepness,” not deep enough.
It appeared as though for the daytime host, or “spiritual leader” to some, Jesus was not an all-consuming, saving, redeeming, and completing power.
Whereas Oprah spoke of service that ended at Newton’s Third Law-- for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction-- an abiding law she stated to live by, Jesus’ service and his life extended to every betrayer, every denier, and every sinner, no matter what others did unto him.
The beauty of Jesus lies in his grace unending, poured out undeservingly, manifested in his ultimate service-- crucifixion on the cross. If His grace reacted and responded in accordance to Oprah’s “abiding law,” then for a believer, there’d be no reason to rejoice, no reason to forgive, no reason to pray in Christ’s name.
Oprah accredited the success of her show to her Harpo team and to Jesus, “because nothing but the hand of God has made this possible for [her].”
“Which God am I talking about now?” she asked. “I’m talking about the one you’re talking about...the Alpha Omega... the omniscient... the one and only G-O-D. That’s the one I’m talking about.”
But the God that I know is not just an all-knowing, all-seeing power and “flow” that guides me to make the right decisions and blesses me with success. The God that I know is an all-consuming flame that imbeds me in his magnificent love, a love that covers over every single sin from past to present to future.
God is love, like Oprah preached. But why is He love? Because of His ultimate sacrifice, in light of our ultimate sin.
We’re not worthy because we were born. We’re worthy because Christ died and because he rose again.
It’s Jesus who saves and Jesus who completes.
Only God knows what Oprah believes.
I hope and pray that Oprah and her many, many followers would cherish the words of Christ, and not find anything redeemable in and of themselves, but in Christ alone, who alone holds the key to...finding yourself and discovering who you were truly meant to be, if I may be so Oprahesque.
And thus I’ll end it here, concluding with Oprah’s own final words: “To God be the glory.”