Nelson Mandela, his memory is for blessing.
We never thought Apartheid would end.
Perhaps there were those, world weary that knew that might makes right, that history is written by the winners.
The leader of the revolution placed in a wind swept, hopeless stone prison island had every reason to be embittered, bereft of hope… but he was not. He had every reason to be vengeful, for a life withered like a “raisin in the sun”, but he was not. Released from prison after decades to rule in optimism, even joy, he embodies hope over despair.
Jane Goodall, heroine of mine travels the world trying to imbue people of different cultures and values with courage to reverse habits of despoliation in order to preserve beautiful natural worlds so that we can pass them to our children and they can be sustained. Despair is the enemy of such change, so Jane carries with her four symbols of hope. They are:
1. a stone from the Berlin wall, which no one ever thought would come down
2. Mr. H, a stuffed animal given her as a gift. It belonged to a Marine named Gary who became blinded at the age of 25, and never lost hope, becoming a magician to make kids laugh
3. a leaf from Nagasaki, grown from a tree which budded following the atomic devastation
4. a stone from Robben Island prison, from which no one thought Mandela would emerge whole in spirit to see Aparthaid end, but it did.
So in tribute to Nelson Mandela, these words borrowed from Emily Dickinson
Hope is the thing…
Hope is the thing, Mandela.
Hope is the thing with feathers,
That perches in the soul.
And it sings the song without words,
And it never stops at all.
Hope is the thing, Mandela…