Sunday, 28 February 2016
SAWBONNA: WE DO NOT HAVE TO DO LIFE ALONE.
On February 12, 2016, as I sat beside Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, I had only one question for him. My question was, "How did you maintain your faith in humanity through all the apartheid horrors?" His answer to me was not only simple and generous, it was a profound affirmation of how Sawbonna did, does, and will continue to fill my life with hope, with meaning, with surrender. Arch said to me, "I did not. I did not do it alone." He then spoke about how his friends, family, communities, and colleagues, some seated with us at the table (situated in a small coffee shop in a side road in downtown Cape Town, South Africa) helped with his process. A few moments later, he tapped me on the knee and said, "We all do our walk our way. I did mine. You will do yours." I truly valued his authentic listening to my question and to what I had shared with him about the gift of healing with Glen Flett, who took my Dad, Theodore's life; Glen, with whom I have shared and share Sawbonna and a rich kinship of genuine voicing for a justice that is lived from the deeply personal, and intertwined with the poignantly political. I do not have a hero. I do not believe in "the chosen one or ones." What I do have is the great gift of choice, which enables me to see "heroes" everywhere, and in so doing, to believe that we are all gifted with the capacity to choose to Sawbonna: to see our humanity, ALL that it entails and includes; and, to be seen in our humanity, ALL that it entails and includes. Right up beside, the good, the bad, and the ugly, is respect, responsibility, and relationship. Relationship means that even when we can not "do the heavy lifting," we can choose to not do it alone. Sawbonna invites us to risk exposing our fragility, our shame, our guilt, our fears, our capacity to ask for help, to ask for support. And in so doing to not only affirm our own life, but to mentor our friends, family, communities, and colleagues to choose to do the same. "I did not do it alone," Desmond Tutu. Sawbonna.