Ubuntu

28.10.10

This week has been a long and heavy week.

i've lost count of the number of times my heart has broken over broken-hearted children in the past few days. i heard someone say, once, that the word 'compassion' in its original form actually described a literal tearing of the gut. My gut is in tatters this week.

This week i have been taught lessons about sadness and grief and darkness and fragility. i've learnt about life's beauty and its value and how quickly it can be taken away. i've watched, this week, while children sit and wrestle with questions beyond their years and adults fill soaking tissues with their tears. i've learnt about heart ache and despair.

But i've also learnt, this week, about togetherness and vulnerability; about openness and sharing. About hope and love.

This week i witnessed parents comforting children that may or may not be their own. This week i saw a 10 year old boy drying the tears of a group of younger kids. This week i stood and watched while a fully grown man put his arm around the shoulder of a 9 year old girl, looked at her and said, "Y'know what? You're right. It isn't fair. It isn't fair! And it's okay to be sad."

This week taught me valuable lessons about honesty and acceptance; about the things in life that tear our boundaries apart; about darkness and light and faith and trust; about broken hearts and binding up our wounds.

Mostly this week taught me about community.

It taught me about the pain and beauty and joy and sadness of really, truly sharing together in life's journey, with all its unexpected twists and turns. It taught me how much that can hurt. It taught me about the power that it has to help and heal.

And it taught me about the wonderful privilege it is to be just one in a body of many parts.


Desmond Tutu once wrote,
“In Africa we have a word Ubuntu, which is difficult to render in Western languages. It speaks about the essence of being human: that my humanity is caught up in your humanity because we say a person is a person through other persons. I am a person because I belong. The same is true for you. The solitary person human being is a contradiction in terms. .. No one can be fully human unless he or she relates to others in a fair, peaceful, and harmonious way.”

This week? This week i think i began to experience some of that.

1 comment:

  1. The word 'Ubuntu' is something I have heard before - a beautiful word and I do like that we don't have a word in English for it. In some ways it is inexpressible until you experience it.

    Sending you love and hugs xx

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