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I, like so many others are in awe of the indelible footprint that Nelson Mandela has left on the earth.  I don’t mourn his passing; I am inspired by his example.  I have never suffered under the cruelty of Apartheid or been beaten and locked away for twenty-seven years. I have never had my life ripped away from me, not to see my children grow-up and have everything I love destroyed…quite the opposite. I have had the luxury of thoughtlessness and bad behavior.

I didn’t know this man. I didn’t see him everyday. I didn’t share his color, and yet I am strongly influenced by him, a man I didn’t know. I use him in my teachings. I am guided by him in my life.

I have felt that I have been blessed with the gift of forgiveness for myself and others, but there are degrees in everything and I have never been tested as he was.  He harbored no resentments, no regrets. He even invited his jailor to his inauguration.  He is not a work of fiction but a living example of what’s possible.

I shall not miss him in the way that I miss those who were a tactile part of my life. He was never that for me. He has always been a guiding voice, a voice of freedom and forgiveness, a man who woke up to the possibility of life everyday indeterminate of his situation.