With the passing yesterday of Nelson Mandela, we should not only remember this incredible man for his good works but also reflect upon his soul as well. There is no doubt that he is now at peace and experiencing great joy in heaven. Humanity seldom experiences the wonder of such a loving and caring soul.
His passing is an opportune time to reflect upon how we treat others. Believe it or not, there are still people who are biased against certain people, groups or races. We consider ourselves so highly advanced and yet wars are still waged around the world and good people suffer greatly, both soldiers and civilians.
When you reflect on this, also consider how much you have put yourself out to help someone else. My daughter was driving along in her car this morning and saw an elderly man, likely in his ‘90s, who was struggling to walk along the sidewalk with his can. Every few seconds, he would reach out as if hoping someone would help him.
To my daughter’s great surprise, the most unlikely person did so. A young man, perhaps 19 or 20, dressed like what would today be considered punk or tough looking clothes, rushed over and took his hand. This young man was the only one who cared about the older gentleman, who was so obviously struggling.
As we near Christmas, most people seem to be rushing here and there, going to stores and shopping. Many seem to have blinkers on as they rush around looking for gifts for family and friends. Often it is the elderly who suffer the consequences by being pushed aside or hit with a shopping cart. Is this the way we should be acting? Would Nelson Mandela approve?
I am now 64 years old and know what it is like to be lost in the shuffle in a busy store. Fortunately, the few times that I have been struck with incredible back pain that left me bent over on my cane, someone has come to my rescue. They did not know me but felt the need to offer help and a few kind words. This type of behavior profoundly touches my heart and gives me hope that there are more good people in the world than we sometimes believe.
This Christmas and throughout the year ahead, people need to think ‘spiritually’ about others rather than just materially as they head out to search for their presents. Yes, family and friends are important and we all want to show them how much we love them. Today, unfortunately, that can only be achieved by paying out more than we can afford to make everyone happy. Things quite simply should not be this way.
Gift giving is a wonderful expression of love for sure but do not forget to offer your family and friends all of the love and support that you can. Nourish their spirit more than providing sustenance to their need for material things. And don’t forget those less fortunate. Even a few dollars can provide a meal for a family at your local shelter. A few items from your closet can keep someone warm this winter so take them to your local Goodwill or Salvation Army. Then grab a few cans of food from your cupboard and take them to your local food bank. None of these things will hinder your opportunity to enjoy the holiday season but will make a huge difference to someone in need.
If there is anything that Nelson Mandela taught us it is that we are not alone in this world and we must remember to help each other whenever we are able. Despite being imprisoned for 27 years, he never lost hope for an end to apartheid. He never lost hope in the innate goodness of others to do what is right. We must not let him down. If we do not become our brother’s keeper, our human race is doomed to failure.
And it is not just individuals who need to consider this but also governments and other powers that be in this world. Before you take aggressive action, consider the human beings that are bound to suffer due to your actions.