On the eve before her last show taping, Oprah Winfrey invited a handful of friends to a private dinner reception in Chicago, including Keep The Faith publisher and executive producer, David Sams (seen here with the lovely Michelle Bekeza and Ms. Winfrey). Sams launched Oprah nationally in 1986 with the King brothers at King World. States Sams, "Oprah and her team couldn't have made us feel more at home. It was amazing to be there on her first day in 1986, and then to be a part of TV history some 25 years later." David and Michelle also attended the Oprah Surprise Spectacular shows at the United Center the week before.
The most amazing moment during Oprah's final broadcast was when she gave the following on-air testimony, which was viewed by over 16 million TV households in the United States alone:
“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.
“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.
“The only time I’ve ever made mistakes is when I didn’t listen. So what I know is, God is love and God is life, and your life is always speaking to you. First in whispers. It’s subtle, those whispers. And if you don’t pay attention to the whispers, it gets louder and louder. It’s like getting thumped upside the head, like my grandmother used to do. You don’t pay attention to that, it’s like getting a brick upside your head. You don’t pay attention to that, the whole brick wall falls down. That’s the pattern I’ve seen in my life, and it’s played out over and over again on this show.
“You all have been a safe harbor for me for 25 years. It’s strange, I know, but you have been. And what I hope is that you all will be that safe harbor for somebody else—their safe place to fall. Do for them what you all are telling me the show has done for you. 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.
Until we meet again . . . to God be the Glory.” --Oprah Winfrey