I have several thoughts on Nelson Mandela, the South African who was jailed for 27 years for fighting against apartheid and became a beloved and admired leader worldwide.
Mandela passed away Thursday evening at age 95.
I don’t feel sad for his passing. I celebrate what he has done in his 95 years. This is an individual who was jailed for speaking out against apartheid and injustice towards a group of people.
To me, and take it for what it’s worth since it’s my opinion, Mandela is everything Americans wished they were, but we are not.
He could have been bitter about his imprisonment, but he wasn’t. He could have sought revenge on those who jailed him and were against his cause, he was forgiving and opened his arms.
As our country continues to bicker, divide ourselves through partisan chicanery, and personal agendas, we are posting quotes and passages said and written by Mandela, and yet, have we seriously taken them to heart?
Realistically, the answer is no. Nelson Mandela, similar to Ghandi and Mother Teresa, were and always will be bigger people than you and me.
Why? Because he was showing us how to live. How to deal with struggles, how to keep your faith when your back is against the wall, patience when people need time to understand, and importantly, help a nation move forward, understand it’s past, and build an avenue towards promise and hope.
He showed humility without hostility, which is something we will never learn here in America. Which is sad because every time we seek for that olive branch, that middle road, our personals agendas, pettiness, and hard feelings continue to get in the way.
Nelson Mandela knew that healing a nation takes time and effort from everyone…from child to leader to the elderly. It’s called a paradigm shift. If you show and educate people, then progress can happen for a change in culture.
Americans, you and me, we haven’t quite figured that out yet. And it’s because we are unwilling to. We let the talking heads tell us what to think and how to feel, rather than us doing it for ourselves.
South Africa would have been the last place in the world that reconciliation among its citizens could happen. You can’t force it, you have to teach it, show it, and help people adapt and change their world and their view for the betterment of their fellow man.
Here in America, we can talk and boast all we want to about how we are a nation of progression, seeking peace, and being good to our fellow man.
We haven’t learned anything from Mandela…and he was showing it to the world for his entire life: grace, humility, kindness, healing, and guiding his country from an ugly past into a promising and united future.
Nelson Mandela is a bigger man than you and me.