I felt heavy all day yesterday. Tired, weary and stressed. But mostly, I felt an underlying sadness that I couldn’t shake. If I had been able to, I would’ve crawled into bed until it was time to pick my girl up from school.
By the time the news that Mandela was gone hit my social media feed, I was ripe with emotion. And like a cloud, heavy with precipitation, I couldn’t hold it in anymore.
Madiba is gone. And I struggled to find the words to tell the frog princess who he is. When the president gave his speech, she happily pointed and reminded me of who he was. When Mandela was shown, I tried to tell her who this man is. The words seemed to big for 4-year old ears. So I simply told her he was a really great man and we would talk about all he had done later.
He lived 95 years and I know he squeezed so many more moments out of his life than most of us do. I am not necessarily sad to hear of his passing. It was his time and he is finally resting in peace. But, like so many, I am affected by his words. I say that in the present tense because I still see his words and get inspired. I do not tire of his motivation or of gleaning some sense of his humility through those quotes that are so near and dear to me.
To the troublemaker who changed the world, thank you. To the man who shifted something inside of me with words from thousands of miles away: rest in peace, I love you.
Here is Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, in quotes:
“It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.”
“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
“The first thing is to be honest with yourself. You can never have an impact on society if you have not changed yourself. … Great peacemakers are all people of integrity, of honesty, but humility.”
“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
“We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right.”
“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.”
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”
And I think this one lives with me daily:
There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.