May 25th, 2011
12:36 PM ET
Before the stage went dark on her long-running talk show Wednesday, Oprah Winfrey still had a few more lessons to share.
Instead of inviting one last super-special guest to appear, giving away a car or doing one more incredible makeover, Winfrey opted to take the finale of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" back to basics: It was just Oprah, giving what she called “a love letter” to her audience.
"This last hour is about me saying thank you; it is my love letter to you," she said. "I want to leave you all with the lessons that anchor my life. Every day that I stood here I knew that this was exactly where I was supposed to be. There was many a day I came to work tired, but I showed up because I knew that you were waiting, you were waiting for whatever we had to offer. That’s why I never missed a day in 25 years."
Over the course of 60 minutes Wednesday, Winfrey inspired laughter, but it’s also fair to say that she simply felt the need to inspire. The 57-year-old media mogul told her viewers she hoped they would take what she's given them and turn their everyday lives into their own personal stage, to realize they also have the power to affect and change lives.
"Everyone has a calling, and your real job in life is to figure out what that is and get about the business of doing it," she said. "You have to know what sparks the light in you so that you in your own way can illuminate the world. ... Wherever you are, that’s your stage, your circle of influence. That’s your talk show, that’s where your power lies. … You have the power to change somebody’s life."
The other lesson the show has taught her, she said, is how important it is to grasp the concept of your own worth. "The show has taught me that there’s a common thread that runs through all of our pain and suffering: unworthiness," Winfrey said. "We can all block our own blessings because we don’t feel inherently good enough or smart enough or pretty enough. The show has taught me that you’re worthy because you were born and you are here. You're being here, and being alive, makes you worthy. You alone are enough."
And, of course, if you want to still hear from Oprah, you can. She said during the finale that her new e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. "It’s the personal e-mail account for all of you," Winfrey said, adding if there's something in your inbox from that address, it's from her directly. "I want you to know that what you have to say matters to me."
In the end, Winfrey said her departure isn't bittersweet, but rather "all sweet and no bitter."
"Every single day I came down from my makeup room, I’d offer a prayer of gratitude for the opportunity to have done this work. To be embraced by all of you, it's one of the greatest honors a human being can have," she said.
"Many of us have been together for 25 years. ... So I thank you all for your support and trust in me. I thank you for tuning in every day. ... I won’t say goodbye, I’ll just say, 'Until we meet again.' "
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