Friday, December 6, 2013
The Death of Mandela
Nelson Mandela passes away after leaving a legacy very few men in the history of the world have before him.
At the age of 95, the world has lost a leader whose voice and leadership helped end Apartheid in South Africa and the ripple effect of that in the world has spread to the four corners of the earth.
This is well known and documented. Yet, what I would like you to consider is what the cost of that movement was. The total cost of this is impossible to fathom let alone calculate. We could start with all the nameless people throughout the process of gaining equality, and it wouldn't begin to scratch the surface. In the example of Mandela's life, you would add 27 years imprisonment, being labelled a terrorist and many, many other titles that were branded upon him. Removal from his family and the life he knew with them, as the list of impacts would go on and on.
We all applaud Mandela for his courage, and we marvelled at his wisdom. We stood in awe to watch him demonstrate authentic forgiveness to those who hated him and took away 27 years of his expression and life. In doing so, he proved to the world that forgiveness creates freedom for self, and that those whose hearts were filled with resentment and hatred were the true prisoners.
Yet, we still do not follow his example for freedom. There are Whites out there that hate and are fearful of Blacks. There are Blacks that are resentful and angry for a history of injustices that cannot be changed, and chose not to forgive. Forgiveness is not granted because it is deserved, it is granted because it removes the negative energy that is keeping each of us from moving forward and not imprisoning ourselves with the connection of not feeling heard, understood, accepted, respected and loved.
The irony of the situation with Mandela is that once he genuinely forgave his enemies, he was the free man and they were the prisoners. He demonstrated unconditional forgiveness because HE deserved it, not his enemies. Forgiveness was one of the lessons he spent learning for 27 years in order to facilitate change in the world.
I often wonder if I would be so courageous and brave to give up 27 years of my life for the cause of advancement in human rights and equality. Of course I want these things for the world, but would I be prepared to sacrifice all that would be needed to accomplish this?
It's a valid question, indeed.
If the cost of 27 years imprisonment was too much for you, I can understand. If I brought the cost down to unconditional forgiveness for you and unconditionally granting it to all whom previously held you a prisoner in your own world, would you be committed to doing that?
If your answers to either of those questions were met with reasons, logic, hesitation or conditions, then I would suggest that you are not ready to follow the lead set by this great man. I would suggest that you like Mandela's story, but you are not getting his message of attaining equality.
I would love to see the immense sacrifices of Mandela attain another level of awareness with his death, than we ever saw possible during his great and lengthy life, so that we can one day live in a world without the idea of race, colour, religion and all the other factors which impede equality to the citizens of the world.
I am thankful for people like Nelson Mandela who have created the foundation of equality so that we may collectively strive together with all of our differences to create the commonalities that we share as a common people.
-To be heard, understood, accepted, respected and to be loved.
Those have much more common links to us as a people than all of the identities we seem to attach ourselves to, while excluding others in the process.
Maybe one day we will get there. It is my great hope that we will. But until we start from the very basics of Mandela's sacrifices and others like him, we will just have more inequality in this very broken world of ours.
So therefore, if it is meant to be, it is up to me...