Of forgiveness and hope

When you arrive at the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg South Africa, http://www.apartheidmuseum.org, you are greeted by the huge words : Democracy, Equality, Reconciliation, Diversity, Responsibility, Respect and Freedom. Those are the seven fundamental values of the intense and emotional journey through the darkness of apartheid and out into the light of the new hope for the future. I personally feel that Forgiveness should have been included. Without forgiveness there is no moving forward.

Sometimes I wonder if these words and the deeds which should accompany them will help our country heal when I still see so much hate blowing around, witness the latest local elections and all the people continually brandishing old hate. South African ex-pats with racist slurs still part of their language after many years abroad. Yes, some people have asked for forgiveness before and some people have forgiven, more than what I thought was humanly possible, especially in the case of that kind, gentle soul of my personal hero Nelson ‘Madiba’ Mandela, but so many have not. He was so badly treated, humiliated and incarcerated but he came out of prison, asked for calm and forgiveness to ensure a peaceful future for the country of his heart. Yet, it seems that most people prefer to live in a hateful society if you look at their acts.

I wonder whether personal relationships would benefit by taking the same journey. See, experience and admit to the wrongs of the past, ask forgiveness and move on. I know that asking forgiveness and trying to make amends can sometimes feel like ‘too little, too late’ when relationships are damaged beyond repair. But what does it make us if we can not forgive, if we can not hope? But more, who do we think that we are to be above forgiveness, above hope? We are all damaged, imperfect humans with many faults and many mistakes. Why see the worst in people and ignore the best? If there is no more hope and no more forgiveness we are doomed. Doomed to living lives like dust being blown in the wind.

A very wise person named Joss, once told me that when she has a very big problem, something that threatens to overcome her, she goes to the ocean. She sits in a quiet, high place far away from people and just stares. She stares into the great ocean and feels small, insignificant, and then has the epiphany. She once again realizes that she is just one small person with a small problem when compared to the greater scheme of things and that puts it all into perspective again for her. We sometimes feel that our problems are the biggest and the worst in the world and that everyone should feel sorry for us and treat us like fragile crystal. We must rather get over ourselves and remember that we are but specks on this earth.

We can make good ripples around us or bad. We do deserve happiness I guess and we can strive towards that, but not at the cost of harming your personal or natural environment. Then the happiness will be so much less enjoyable if built on others’ unhappiness. If we create good ripples around us, then we would be like the man in the beginning of the powerful short film, worthwhile watching, ‘Validation’. Link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cbk980jV7Ao. He was happy because he saw the good in other people and ignored the bad and validated them – thus making himself even happier.

Yet after suffering disappointment and pain, this man changes. Because he is sad, he begins to make bad ripples, ripples of indifference, negativity and hate. This is like the current situation in South Africa, with people who are unhappy and filled with anger in their own lives who decide to take it out on other people by leaning on the age-old judgemental walking stick of racism. This is when they want to create unhappiness in other people’s lives by using horrible derogatory terms like the hated racist ‘k-word’ which is similar to the hated ‘n-word’ in America. It does no good to either the utterer or the receiver.

Let us all try to validate others, walk up to an unhappy person and give them a positive comment. Spread the love even though you may not be feeling it inside. It is contagious.

Love and light and validation




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