The last several weeks have been extra busy — end of year projects, holiday planning, and I've been working on upgrading to a new website. There are days, though, when something happens to cut through all the "busy-ness" of life, and makes us pause. Today feels like one of those days.
Nelson Mandela died yesterday, and many of us have been presented with opportunities last night and today to remember him and consider what he represented to our lives. Mandela was often called "Mandiba", an honorary title which refers to the Xhosa tribe to which he belonged. What inspired me most about him, though, was his ability to transcend tribe, race, culture, nationality — all those things that separate us — and appeal to our common humanity.
It is an understatement to say that President Mandela was beloved by many people. His journey from being jailed for twenty-seven years to overcoming an unjust system and ultimately becoming the first black president of South Africa was a triumph. He became president in his mid-seventies and lived a very productive life into his nineties! Even more inspiring was his ability to forgive those who oppressed him. That is what makes him a hero to me.
Heros are those people who connect with our core values, and who inspire us to be our best selves. In fact, if you notice who your own heroes are, it will tell you a lot about what is most important to you.
If you are remembering Nelson Mandela today, I invite you to consider what about him inspires you. What core values does he affirm for you? How are you honoring those in your life?