I define joy as a sustained sense of well-being and internal peace - a connection to what matters.

~ Oprah Winfrey ~

What Made Mandela So Marvelous?

December 11th, 2013 ~ Est. reading time: 1 min, 33 secs

Mandela had wisdom to spare.

Mandela had wisdom to spare.

Nelson Mandela was a legend. Even before his death late last week, he was widely regarded as a statesman, a hero, and a saint. Not bad for someone who spent a good part of his adult life doing hard labor in a South African prison.

From a distance (and we are far away from Africa), Nelson Mandela’s vision for a just nation where equality and acceptance prevail, was audacious. In the face of apartheid, it was an outrage to think that black South Africans could be anything more than servants to their white masters.

But things change and under immense difficulty Nelson Mandela’s fortitude became a rallying point for people right around the globe.

Much has been said about his incarceration and the political issues surrounding his rise in the anti-apartheid movement. But, if that was all there was to this man, we wouldn’t be thinking about him nearly as much.

Above his cause, Mandela demonstrated qualities of character. Real ones that obviously touched people. His willingness to forgive his tormenters is extraordinary, as was his vision for the people of his beloved country.

Regardless of his advantages and flaws, Nelson Mandela reflected compassion. Though he could have turned his back on the dispossessed, in a Christ like way, he aimed to give each dignity and, where possible, offer practical help.

It must have taken extraordinary creativity to imagine a world so different to the one he was in. Combined with patience, he persevered and, to a remarkable degree; turned all the ugliness and brutality of his life on its head to create something truly beautiful.

By these means, Nelson Mandela came to be regarded as beautiful too. His qualities of character made him a figure of respect and deep appreciation. And while you and I are altogether different to him, those same aspects of character can work miracles in our life too. Character is not a religious belief or “the answer”. But it goes a long way toward creating something wonderful from the way we live. And one thing is certain. You can be sure that people of character will always stand out in a crowd for all the right reasons.

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