“Forgiveness liberates the soul” – Nelson Mandela
I don’t remember the exact moment when I first came across him. Maybe I had to research his life for a school project. Perhaps it was that Clint Eastwood movie or multiple U2 tributes over the years. Either way, I have always been struck by the idea that even after spending 27 years imprisoned for refusing to settle for inequality, a man could find the courage to forgive those who put him there.
Sometimes, it still doesn’t make sense. If forgiveness is liberation, why can it be so difficult to find? How did he uncover the strength within himself to achieve such freedom? What sort of choices did he make to let go of his anger? But therein lies the magic word: choice.
The first step of moving towards forgiveness is recognizing the fact that we have the power to choose how we feel. We have a say in whether we want to stay pinned underneath the rubble or crawl our way out. How can we move into that “enlightened” space of choice? By filling our souls up with love, light and admiration for the glory of the human spirit. It’s not that he was more talented at forgiving than us, but rather spent more time creating that joyful emotional space for himself. If he could do it, so can we.
We must remember that transformation can start with one thought, one person and one dream. And more importantly, ultimate freedom is born from the inside, by simply choosing to view our surroundings through a lens of exultation. Nelson Mandela showed us that changing the world is not as difficult as it sounds. It simply starts with a choice. And that is worth celebrating.
(Copyright 2018 ~ Jason Natzke)