Farewell, President Mandela

Former South Africa leader Nelson Mandela.

How many of us could forgive our enemies, time and time again?

How many of us could spend thirty years in prison and emerge ready to make peace?

How many of us could allow a small group of people to oppress our own, larger, group, sometimes brutally, then when we finally have a chance to take vengeance, insist that our people accept the smaller group as neighbors instead?

How many of us could hold to our purpose when so many others think we’re wrong? When so many others don’t understand how, or more importantly why, we insist on our course over the one they would prefer?

How many of us have the courage to change our world?

Nelson Mandela showed us: at least one.

We lost a great man yesterday. He lived a long, purposeful life and died true to his principles.

We should have the courage to honor his memory.

I've been a soldier, a dreamer, a working stiff, a leader. A husband, father, example (good and otherwise), and now a survivor. I write about courage, because courage is what enables us to accomplish the impossible. If you draw breath, I love you. If you love in whatever way seems best to you and want others to love in whatever way seems best to them, I am your ally. If you believe someone is less than you because they do not love the way you do, I oppose you. If you see someone as a threat to be abused or destroyed merely because they do not look like you, or love like you, or worship like you, I am your enemy. I am a joyful and courageous man. And I stand with you who love.