copyright Bettina Network, inc. 2013
“I am not a saint – unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.” – Mandela.
…………………………………….If only that described all of us!
The world is pouring out its grief, celebration, joy, gratitude, love for the life of Nelson Mandela.
………………………………………………………..Which has to make you think and ask – why?
What makes a human being rise to such a level that we are all grateful for his life on earth and come out to celebrate such an exceptional human being. Is it because so few such people have lived on this earth, especially when put in the context of the totality of those who have lived?
While most are celebrating such a great man – in Bettina homes we are asking why so few have risen to this height? Why so many human beings have been so absorbed with the mundanities of life that keep us busy and distracted so we can keep ourselves unaware of our irrevocable march towards death? Is it the self-absorption which some of our huge egos demand for their self-gratification? Is it the inconsistencies in values which we carry that keep us from living out our beliefs because we might get hurt – might miss a meal – might not accumulate as much wealth as possible? Or is it our contradictory ways of thinking and acting which we develop in our striving to create the structures which we think protect us and keep us secure, but which really oppress us?
How long, O Lord, do we have to wait for the many to live life the way Mandela lived his? Why does he have to be special? Why in our own small parts of the world we insist on living anti-ubuntu lives? Haven’t we experienced enough of the misery, poverty, pain, horrors that this causes? How long will we surround ourselves with “our own kind”? How long will we live blinded by the fact that we are all included in “our own kind.”
Whatever hurts me hurts thee! Whatever joys I experience grow exponentially when I share them with thee! My freedom totally depends upon your freedom.
One can hear why Mandela was great by just listening to the speeches honoring him. Some were clear, unobstructed by play acting, playing to the audience, playing to their own egos, unable to give a great speech honestly honoring Mandela’s life because they have allowed their minds to be clouded by their refusal to accept and act on their own values and take responsibility for their lives. Some were almost unintelligible and said more negatives about the person giving the speech than positives about the man the speech was supposed to be honoring. True Freedom eliminates that and you could tell whose lives were on track and whose were confused and muddled from listening to those speeches!
Mandela’s memorial services today gave us a stark opportunity to see and hear the differences as men and women gave their speeches of remembrance and the crowd reacted. Some people don’t have images, reflections, pretenses, – they have a rock solid faith, clear and authentic lives they are living and it is reflected in their very being, the words they use, their demeanor around others – especially their ability to be themselves when greeting strangers. Some people first promote their image and then everything else – lets not even begin to be who we really are, that must not show until we know the person better.
Why do so many of us want, protect and pass on to our children, as great gifts, the bondage in which we live? Why do we give up a beautiful life well lived for an existence that others have told us we must sacrifice ourselves to maintain? Why are we enslaved to sexual stereotypes – racial stereotypes – national stereotypes – religious stereotypes? We live out of them. We live for them and to promote them hoping that in exchange we will be able to live physically comfortable although seriously compromised lives.
FREEDOM will come to this earth when we celebrate lives like Mandela’s many times each day instead of once in a lifetime.
We set up ‘sins’ that we must stay away from and/or avoid the perception of our being involved with because that might handicap our future. We don’t set up, teach, preach, live authentic lives. The sins we set up and announce from our own mountain seem meant to deflect us and allow a few to claim perfection in their life’s story. Those are very far from the real sins of our lives – the inability to live authentically, the refusal to feel empathy for those on the street with no shelter from the cold, hunger, dangers of the street. Our refusal to stand on our own professed faith and most especially to give no room to others to stand on theirs – this seems to be the biggest sin of our creation. These are the commandments by which we live and demand that others of “our kind” also live. Our need to act to keep from feeling threatened by those we don’t understand; those in whom we see what we don’t like in ourselves – those we scape goat, and see reflected in our own mirror – we act against and break our own mirror.
As we look around at others it hurts the soul to see in them the rejection, mean spirit, and refusal to live truly free lives. After all, what does it matter in the end? We all die – and what a horrible death to leave this earth with unrequited dreams, longing, loves because you were trying for things that die with you for which there is no resurrection or redemption and which did nothing to make your life great. Worse, to die without ever having had dreams, great loves and without having left behind a legacy which helped change this earth for the better.
Isn’t it sad that we choose the fleeting fame and what we call ‘security’ instead of choosing to be about the business of living fully and making sure we are there to help others do the same?
There is no such thing in life as ‘security’, but we are willing to sacrifice much to attain the mirage.
Ecclesiastes comes to mind often – ‘vanity of vanities………’
Oh for a world full of people like Nelson Mandel!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.
Not only was Nelson Mandela clear as to who he was and whose he was, but he was a man who never met a stranger. He could reduce you to your real self in front of him in seconds or make it extremely difficult for you to maintain the pretense and image built up over years of living someone else’s imaginary life projected onto your own.
We pray that we all can move away from and cast out the garbage that collects as we live our lives striving for security; putting forth an image of someone we would like to be and who we would like those meeting us to think we are; cast out the values we collect to cover our insecurities and fears; cast out the mean spirit we take on because we need to feel better than other human beings who we describe and see clearly as those less than us helping us to be better than they are.
We pray that we have no more such outpourings as are happening this week for Nelson Mandela. Not because we don’t appreciate and value his life and work, but because we will be living in a world where there are so many like him that his life and how he lived it becomes normal and is common all around us. What a world that would be and what a wonderful place to live, love, work, and just be!
UBUNTU! A future and a word taken into the world’s vocabulary as one of its own no matter what the language. A word that describes – how we live – who we are!
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