Friday, July 1, 2011

Loren and Nelson Mandela


“I am the captain of my soul.” Nelson Mandela

If there is a special place for magnificent souls in an after-life, in the quantum hologram of forever, Loren and Nelson Mandela would be together.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately, and about Nelson Mandela especially. Maybe it’s because of the freedom uprisings in the Middle East and northen Africa. Maybe it’s because so many famous people of my generation are dying, recently Peter Falk AKA Columbo, leaving a void in the cultural fabric of our lives. Nelson Mandela is 93 years old. It’s only a matter of time before he joins the fallen heroes of our era. For that matter, it’s only a matter of time for all of us. Also, it's the 4th of July and we are celebrating freedom.

Nelson Mandela was one of Loren’s biggest heroes. Few leaders touched his heart more than this giant of freedom and forgiveness.

After serving for 27 years in jail for his courageous fight against apartheid, Mandela returned to South Africa to finish what he had started. In 1994 he became South Africa’s first black president. He served one term, then left politics to younger leaders. His dream lives on. Mandela united the global village in his heroic struggle for freedom.

Loren asked me once: “How many people could spend almost 30 years of their life in jail, for the crime of fighting for human freedom, and emerge with forgiveness in their heart?“

I don’t know. I think I would have been enraged, seeking “justice,” wanting revenge. Not Mandela. How did Mandela find peace and the courage to forgive? How did he overcome anger for the injustice he suffered for so long? How come he didn’t emerge an embittered old man who receded into the shadows of history?

I think Loren understood as few could because of his own struggles growing up with Asperger’s Syndrome before anyone knew what it was. What other’s considered his “oddness” often left Loren alone, stranded on the margins of social life and social activities. Unable to explain or to participate, he watched from the sidelines, sometimes saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, sometimes erupting into anger and rage.

He found solace in his hobbies, his causes, his reading, his heroes, and his understanding of goddess spirituality and her place in the cosmos, especially in the beauty of the environment, which Loren worshipped, respected, fought to conserve.

Mandela and Loren. They both fought demons that held them back and held them down; they never gave up; they worked through anger, frustration and hopelessness at times, to emerge as triuimphant spirits.

“Now really, sis, I’m no Nelson Mandela!” That would be Loren, putting things in perspective.

Well, I know, on one level that’s true, but on the level where it matters, the level of human survival, matters of the soul, it's different. Loren argues with me, no doubt. But hey its July 4th. We're celebrating freedom and the triumph of the human spirit. That's why I think Nelson and Loren are spiritual twins. That's why I like to think that they will merge together in the quantum hologram of forever.


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