Oprah Winfrey is counting down to the last episode of the Oprah show. (Insert sad sigh here.)
I was an Oprah fan long before most people even heard of her. Oprah reported the local news for us in Baltimore when I was a teenager, she was the reason I watched. I just liked her. So when the Oprah show began, it felt like a reunion. Over the years as time permitted, I watched in the afternoons. After my auto accident, when I viewed the world from my recliner, I looked forward to my hour with Oprah.
            A year after the accident, I got mad at Oprah. Really mad. She was giving things to the audience: spa visits, designer clothes, vacations. It broke my heart that even if I were in the audience, she couldn’t give me what I so desperately wanted: one day without pain. I threw something at the television, missed, and cried until I was exhausted. Even if I did meet her, the most influential woman on television could not help me.
            Recently, I remembered that day when Oprah and I crossed paths. Mr. Payne and I were walking along a trail in Pebble Beach. The community was quiet, recovering from a golf tournament weekend. Few people were around. We were the only tourists in sight. The area’s beauty was breathtaking. I was amazed I was there. It was evidence of the decade long, slowest-miracle-ever-on-record:  learning to manage my chronic pain.
            Mr. Payne & I were laughing as she walked toward us, up the path’s slight rise. Plain sweat suit, hair up in a clip, baseball cap with brim pulled down low, and huge, dark sunglasses. She looked down the moment she saw my camera. I sized her up as I held the camera down by my side. Yup, it was Oprah.
           As she looked down and came closer, I debated what to say.
Or do.
What an opportunity!
I mean, this was Oprah! 
When I was within arm’s reach of the “Ah-ha Moment Queen,” I had my own “Ah-ha.”
I didn’t want or need a thing from her.
Now, even with the pain, I’m usually content and happy. Yes, there are days of tears and dreadful, persistant pain, but maybe I’ve learned because of it, not in spite of it. Maybe in some weird way, pain has been a good thing.
 God has slowly guided my life, helped me manage the pain, learn from it, and lean on Him. Even Oprah could not have done that for me.
Content in realizing my contentedness, I felt compassion for Ms. Winfrey. All she wanted was a walk in her beautiful neighborhood. Not questions or chit-chat. Not photos with a gushing fan. Definitely not photos!
“Good morning.” I smiled at her.
           Still looking down, she answered in her imitation British accent, “Good morning.”

           As she walked by, I gave her what she wanted: her privacy. I didn’t click my camera. I didn’t even gush. Instead, I prayed for her, thanked the Lord Jesus for all the good she’s done for others, and prayed she knows how much He loves her.     

I will miss Oprah in the afternoons, but I’m grateful we shared a few moments one lovely morning.