Ripples #759: Ripples for Madiba.
For our tribe of busy people who believe in
unleashing Ripples of compassion & kindness: uRock!
9 Dec 2013
For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains,
but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.
As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.
Mr. Mandela was a man whose heart, soul and spirit could not be contained or restrained by racial and economic injustices, metal bars or the burden of hate and revenge.
He transcended race and class in his personal actions, through his warmth and through his willingness to listen and to empathize with others. He taught us that to respect those with whom we are politically or socially or culturally at odds is not a sign of weakness, but a mark of self-respect.
Nelson Mandela chose to leave behind 27 years of bitterness when he regained his freedom after almost three decades of imprisonment; a choice that revealed remarkable courage and determination. South Africa was transformed because of his leadership and because he inspired others to collaborate instead of compete with their adversaries. People around the world revere this Nobel Peace Prize winner, and I’m confident he will endure as one of the most respected political leaders of our time. I think unfortunately there have been many missed opportunities to follow his remarkable example. Our reactions to social crises (terrorism, crime, poverty, political unrest, natural disasters, etc.) both at home and abroad might all improve significantly if we more stridently commit to the difficult work of focusing on our shared humanity.
I believe Nelson Mandela would be much less interested in our veneration of him and much more interested in our renewed commitment to magnify our empathy, compassion and the persistent pursuit of peace in both our personal and public lives. I challenge us all to seek concrete ways to honor his passing, whether that be making peace with someone nearby (colleague, neighbor, etc.), working harder to understand the perspective of those who disagree with you, or renewing your determination to accomplish something for the greater good.
Don’t just mourn Nelson Mandela;
decide to honor him with change.