What the president's farewell speech taught us about love...
By Jazz Keyes
During Obama’s farewell speech, I watched as the camera hovered over Michelle Obama to see her reactions as her husband said his goodbyes to America. While so many people were mesmerized by the pair, she sat silently in complete awe of the man she vowed to share her life with. Mouthing the occasional, “I love you” Michelle watched as her husband made history, yet again. The amazement in her eyes was undeniable.
If ever there were a time to revel in the extraordinary beauty of Black love, last night was it. As we watched our 44th President deliver a seamless farewell speech, one could only be touched with an ounce of optimism and a hope that one day they, too, could experience an allegiance as strong as Barack Obama and Michelle LaVaughn Obama of Chicago’s South Side have.
The two share what appears to be an exquisite and enchanted love—one marked by unmistakable devotion, extreme admiration, reverence and soul-penetrating friendship. With tears in both of their eyes, they bid farewell to the citizens of America in the same spirit they came—one of faith and endless possibilities. “Yes, We Can!”
For the past eight years, the POTUS and FLOTUS have served as an exemplary prototype for what can be achieved when two people decide that together they are unconquerable. President Obama’s farewell speech gave us something to hold on to. As the two prepare to begin the next chapter of their lives, we are left with tokens of hope, and their commitment to one another offers us a prototype for love. The quotes from Obama’s speech serve as nuggets of guidance from which all of us looking for that forever love can learn from. During the president’s speech, he said:
“You took on a role you didn’t ask for. And you made it your own with grace and with grit and with style, and good humor.”
Barack and Michelle’s relationship is an example of how our expectations can interfere with our relationship. When we have a fixed perception of love, we dismiss the power of it being fluid. We must be open to the idea that love will require transformation and that change may be grievous. It may even snatch you from your comfort zone and force you to assume a new role. Instead of allowing it to cause strife and friction in your relationship, have the option of deciding to do as Michelle did, and assume the new position with fierceness.
“And a new generation sets its sights higher because it has you as a role model.”
A relationship where two people glorify one another, not for how they personally benefit from their mate, but how they serve humanity, is one worth seeking. The respect they share for each other is less about their personal needs being met and more about supporting one another so they can serve the world. The President and first lady remind us that love is not about finding someone who simply makes you feel good; love is about finding the person who makes you believe there is something divine within you, and that the world wouldn’t be the same without you. It’s about finding that person who knows that what you can offer the world is just too precious to keep to themselves. Even if sharing you means less time for them, because they want as many people to experience your gifts and generosity as possible.
“Malia and Sasha…under the strangest of circumstances you have become two amazing young women.”
We can’t be afraid to push our children. While they are fragile, they are unbreakable. The Obamas managed to raise two young Black girls in the spotlight. They were forced to spend their childhood on a platform to be ridiculed and watched by all of America. They, like their mother, assumed the role and managed it with dignity. This is all the proof we need to be assured that our children can be held to exceptional standards. When supported properly, they will rise and outshine all of their opponents.
The President and first lady provide a remarkable display of what can transpire in a relationship when both people work as a team. Michelle never requested the spotlight. She isn’t one that loves to be the center of attention or cares to be praised by the world. She is a wife who believes in her husband and rose to the occasion. As a result, Michelle made her mark on the world as the most influential first lady this nation has ever had. When one person in a relationship wins, both experience the joys of victory.
With sorrowful hearts, we mourn the President and First Family’s departure as we would a death. While many are devastated to see them go, they have served us above and beyond their call of responsibility. It is now their time to create new stories and new experiences.
While we will forever miss Barack and Michelle’s coy love exchanges, their lighthearted dancing, the swag in President Obama’s walk and talk, and the shameless way the two doted on one another, they have left us with so many gems of goodness. When we take the knowledge we have been gifted with and apply it to our lives, the possibilities are infinite. May we all move forward with poise, elegance, and vigor, remembering now and always that, Yes, We Can!
Jazz Keyes is a community activist, poetess and a nationally certified Life Purpose and Career Coach. She has devoted a great deal of her time and energy on mastering the art of communication in order to create healthy, dynamic, long-lasting relationships. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @jazzkeyes.