Missing Mandela

3846624582_bbd79ae559[1]Peace, peace, peace on Earth and good will to all

That’s all all. That’s where we live together in a world where we’re not judging people. It’s an Earth where we wish good will to our friends and our enemies. It’s a world where we forgive those who have oppressed us. It’s a place where we try to set aside our differences and live in a society of mutual respect — or, at least, tolerance. We’ve done evil things to one another. But we’re still stuck on this planet together. So rather than killing and oppressing and hurting one another, isn’t it better to try to get along?

This is a time for joy

3845782083_0fc446e27a[1]Sad things happen, and more of them have been happening lately than normal. But in Johannesburg, the people are singing and dancing in the streets to celebrate the life of the Father of their Country, rather than mourning him with tears of sadness. If they can celebrate, why can’t I?

I’ve heard more than one person express relief that Mandela’s suffering is over, again. He has been released from the prison of his physical body here on Earth, and can finally rest from his labors.

This is a time for love

The loss of Mandela focuses attention on his ideals for a better, unified, more just South Africa. He made great strides. He unified a country that many had written off as irreparably broken. But there’s still so far to go. The disparity between rich and poor in South Africa magnifies the same inequalities we have in the United States and around the world. The sad part is that we have the capacity to solve our problems. We just choose not to help one another.

Now let us all sing together

3846564862_c4707446de[1]Singing is an enormous part of African culture. They sing because it connects them to their community. Mandela promoted the idea of ubuntu. I am a part of this community. Without the community, I would be diminished. And without me, it would be less than it is. We depend on one another. We are part of one another.

I’ve been in many professional development workshops over the years. But only the ones in Africa spontaneously break into song:

Of peace, peace, peace on earth

There are seven billion people on this planet, and yet humanity seems diminished with the loss of one. Mother Theresa is often quoted as saying that we ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop. That’s Ubuntu. We learned that from Nelson Mandela.