Wednesday, July 3, 2013
I listened to the reports on Mandela's failing health and heard about the prayers which were being said for his total recovery. I said to myself, should these be our prayers? I am wondering if we are not holding him back with our prayers for a physical recovery; if our collective need for him to be alive on this earth whether in good health or in failing health is what drives us to pray such a prayer. Should our prayers not be for God's will to be done? Should we not be saying to our brother Mandela; Madiba , if you are ready to go, whenever you are ready to go, we release you in love, and with our love. When we think of Nelson Mandela, we see him as belonging to us. We have acquired an attachment to him. There are persons who know him personally or those who know him through his speeches, his actions or through the pages of his books. We find ourselves connected to him and the struggles he went through. Is it easy to release someone we love or revere? I say it is not easy. But, sometimes releasing a person to make the decision to let go is necessary. I believe that it is a certain gift of love that allows us to see it from the perspective of the ailing person. It requires a lot of energy to fight a sickness. A lot of strength is needed to overcome a sickness that is draining a person's body. His spirit, his mind, his soul may still be fighting ready but without a healthy body to work from, these other aspects of a human being can very well be challenged. Nelson Mandela's body has been showing us for sometime now, that the house of his mind, spirit and soul is tired. It has been part of many a battle. It has stood up to dehumanizing words by guards doing their duties. We must have seen the signs. Have we been ignoring them for fear of what they might mean to us? Nelson the Warrior has been fighting for years. In his youth, he has stood up for what he believed in. He moved from a seemingly blissful life in his home area to a life in Johannesburg where the streets were not covered with milk and honey, but where to be black meant that you carried a pass book which gave you permission to move around your own land. Living in a land where work systems caused families to be separated and laws limited the black South African. As a lawyer Nelson Mandela argued for the rights of blacks in apartheid South Africa at that time. While being imprisoned on Robben Island his jailers tried their best to break him. They tried, repeatedly to destroy his spirit, his mind, his soul and his body for several years. Nelson Mandela would not allow them to win at this. He found ways to renew himself in spirit and in mind. To the apartheid South African government at that time Mandela was seen as terrorist. To them he was a thorn in their side which had to be removed. And Mandela resisted them at every turn. Surely, living through such hardships; a life without his family, his friends, cut off from the happenings of the world. In the early years of his imprisonment, not being able to forge ahead with the goals of equality and freedom for the black South African through the ANC would have hurt, aged, suffered the body of this powerful man called Nelson Mandela. To be alive for 94 years living a relatively cool, breezy life is not a comparison for a man who spent most of those years in jail under very harsh and inhumane conditions. We cannot truly understand that feeling of confinement upon a person until we walk that walk. But our small confinements at times give us a taste of what a twenty-seven year imprisonment might feel like. To be without your freedom at the age of forty-four years because you sought freedom for all South Africans!! Should we not now be singing songs to Nelson? Songs of love for him? Songs of gratitude to him for the life he took up? Should we not tell him how in awe we are at his ability to forgive, release and move on from feelings of hatred and revenge? Should we not be dancing for showing us what it truly means to be a human being? I am so glad. I feel so grateful that I am living in a time when Nelson Mandela lives. That I have been breathing in from the same world air as he is breathing. I have never touched Nelson nor have I had the opportunity to meet him but his words, his life has been an inspiration to me. He has shown that you can survive terrible hardships when you go inside of yourself to seek the answers. You can find peace while living under hardships and demoralizing existence. Your inner wisdom and strength fight through to resist the evil of your oppresor's will. Is Nelson Mandela a saint? Maybe yes, maybe no. But what I have recognized is that he has shown the highest attributes of what make us human beings. He is not perfect. He is a special gift!!! A gift given to his country and to the world. He heard the call and he answered the voice. He did what was required of him at the expense of his own physical freedom, separation from family and love ones. Will we understand the call now and allow love to make the difference and let him go on his final rest?