I saw the news first in an email blast from a major news network.
Nelson Mandela Has Died
I fought the strong urge to rush to Twitter and FaceBook to pass on the news. After all, I had no special connection. I had never met him, although I have three friends who worked with him and knew him well. I had great respect for the man. Yet, I had not spent a significant amount of time reading about him or exploring his words of wisdom.
No, somehow I didn’t feel worthy to pass the news that Mr. Mandela was gone.
So instead, I spent several hours reading what others had to say. And a theme emerged that seemed to mirror the faint picture I already carried of this great man.
Nelson Mandela harbored no bitterness or hatred toward those who persecuted him or who fought his dream for true respect for every living person.
Please don’t hear me say that I am not grateful for all of his accomplishments. Truly, this is a man who changed the world.
Yet, in this world of celebrity hubris and egomaniacal power-lust, Nelson Mandela was the model of grace and mercy.
When I think of the ways that I protest about small injustices or loss of convenience, I am humbled by the very memory of one who chose above all to serve.
That thought becomes even more sobering when I fully realize that I have seen that example before in the stories told to me by my grandparents and my parents — and that leap from the pages of the holy scriptures.
And I realized that I am strangely silent about many things.
Dear friends, please pardon my strange silence when it comes to things I should share because of the joy and wholeness that soar from retelling the stories of lives that were spent doing good.
For your loved ones who have gone on, for heroes, for those for whom life ended too early, for leaders like Nelson Mandela, and especially for our Lord and Savior, let all of our voices be heard. And may the stories of each and every one be passed on to our children and our children’s children.
May we no longer be strangely silent.