"Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again."
This quote from Nelson Mandela inspires me in my walk with God these days. In my journey of mid-life, I am looking back at all my successes and failures over the years and realizing how much both of them make me who I am, and who I choose to be.
The quote also reminds me of what a great man he was, and I honor his memory the day after his death.
I remember when he was set free and trying to imagine what it was like for him to be in prison for 27 years, an amount of time longer than I had been alive. And yet as he was released, he was an international hero, an icon of resistance to apartheid.
Over the years, I began admiring his essential choice to seek reconciliation rather than revenge, realizing he had gone through changes in life in his approach to what it means to offer resistance to evil. He became a champion in what it means to reconcile, an intentional effort that goes far beyond forgiveness. He was able to do what few leaders in the world have been able to do.
What a great man he was. Nelson, you continue to inspire me. May you rest in peace, as one who brought to the world a legacy of real peace. I wish we could learn more fully from you. Perhaps we will.