This week…Nelson, The Colour Purple and other sadnesses

It has been a long week.

A week in which Nelson Mandela left us at a great age leaving an enormous legacy of how we can learn to live in truth, tolerance and pardon.

I’d just finished reading one of Tony Hillerman’s Navajo Tribal Police books “The Dark Wind” and was fascinated by the Navajo philosophy of “walk in beauty” which means to be balanced, in harmony with oneself and nature, a state of health in its broadest sense.

As I closed the book and switched on the evening news on BBC radio, I heard that Nelson Mandela had died. My first thought was “This was someone who walked in beauty”.

Sleep was a long time coming. There were many thoughts about death, life, my new grandson, tomorrow and its tasks. I needed to ground all that somehow.

So I read. Late into the night. “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker. In revisiting the story of Celie, Nettie, Shug, Mister, Sophia and Harpo something touched me. Common to all the events of the week. Death. Birth. Life. To be lived. To be grateful for its gifts.

Celie’s story says it all

” I’m pore, I’m black, I may be ugly and can’t cook, a voice say to everything listening. But I’m here. Amen say Shug. Amen, Amen.”

Well, I’m not poor like Celie or like millions of other people on this  planet. I’m not black, although that should not make a difference. Whether I’m ugly or not or whether my dinners are edible or not, you’d have to ask other people – I’m biased. But I am here. And grateful.

Thank you, Nelson, for your life lived in beauty.

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