“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” ― Nelson Mandela
This past week, we lost one of our inspirational heroes following the passing of Nelson Mandela. It took me several days to really absorb the impact of this news. It took me several days before I could figure out what I wanted to share with you in this blog.
If you don’t know who Nelson Mandela is, I urge you to read about him or to read his very own autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom. There are also two movies related to his life that will be in the theaters next year. He was a beloved and well-known activist in South Africa, who eventually became their first democratically elected President after serving 27 years in prison for his role in protesting apartheid.
As I thought about Nelson Mandela’s sacrifice for his beliefs, I was moved by the 27 years he spent imprisoned. He spent 27 years of his life away from his family and serving time because he believed in equality. Many people serve time and come out hardened, bitter and feeling like life was stolen from them. And, many people would think that giving up 27 years of your life for a principle was enough of a sacrifice. When you do time, your whole family does time with you. It’s not just your sacrifice alone.
What I find remarkable about Nelson Mandela is that he served that time and came out more loving, gracious and prepared to serve his people. He came out with more determination to elevate his people. Instead of being broken by the time he served, he was strengthened by it. He worked even harder and rose to Presidency to serve his people. No one would’ve blamed him if he just wanted to live his life when he came out of prison, but he dedicated his life to his cause and his country is better for it. There is no denying he was aware of his greatness and embraced it.
So, what can we learn from Nelson Mandela? We all have our trials. We all go through difficult times in our life We may want to give up on people. We can feel abandoned. Some of us are free to walk around, but we are prisoners in our minds because we can’t let go of the things that keep us captive. We can face things that harden us or make us bitter, but we always have a choice. The choice you can make is to let go and free yourself. You can choose love. You can choose compassion. And, you can believe that the world can be a better place and find your way to make it better. You can embrace your greatness as Nelson Mandela did, even in the face of adversity. You were born with a purpose. “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.” ― Nelson Mandela
Thank you and Rest in Peace, Nelson Mandela.
“I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom: Autobiography of Nelson Mandela