I AM NOT A SAINT,UNLESS YOU THINK OF A SAINT AS A SINNER WHO KEEPS ON TRYING…NELSON MANDELA
Paul got married a few years ago. He tied the knot with Kate several months into a lovely relationship. Everyone of Paul’s friends knew he had stricken gold. Kate’s friends also knew she had grabbed a hot cake and not a moment too soon! Kate was not only beautiful but also sweet and kind! She carried around her a welcoming and an easy going aura. Paul was thoughtful, hard working and held his own in the looks department.
A few months into this beautiful marriage, however, Paul had eaten his fair share of half cooked Ugali and burnt vegetables. Kate on the other hand had to swallow her bile every time she had to clean up after Paul. Many an argument had arisen between them. They discovered countless little habits in each other that steamed them off. She swallowed too hard when drinking milk, he spent too much time watching football. Why did she have to tell her girlfriends so much? Did he have to be so aloof and silent when the in laws meddled? Why oh why did he snore so loudly at night? Did she have to sleep in that hideous avocado face mask every Sunday?
I heard this story from one of my friends who was trying to make me see a point I cannot quite remember. Whether it is true or not I cannot really tell, although I strongly feel it is a product of his imagination. He went ahead to describe a million flaws in Paul and Kate, that sent the other over the edge. Nonetheless they remained married and happily so. This is after they had seen all that was to be seen and heard all that was to be heard from each other.
Lets go to the south a little. During this period when everyone is spending fifty hours of their days indoors I came across something that got me thinking. In one of his many speeches on You tube, the late Nelson Mandela spoke earnestly on his apparent status as a saint. He had been clothed with the cloak of sainthood and perfection the world over. His rigorous service to his statesmen in the fight against apartheid made him a hero. Being jailed for almost three decades for his country’s freedom made him a saint. Giving up the presidency sooner than he had received it, unlike so many other African statesmen, got him into the angel’s club.
“I am not an angel,” he said “I am a human being with weakness, some of them fundamental. Neither am I a saint unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps trying!”
This honest statement was met with a loud applause and a standing ovation. I want to believe that many clapped because they saw the truth in the statement rather than out of obligation.
I have always felt that the deepest liberty is achieved when the truth is unleashed. What is the truth? It is the fact that we are not perfect. Indeed we cannot be! Our lives are driven by so many dynamics, experiences and emotions to allow us this privilege. Being perfect would mean assuming the status of a deity.
No matter how much we try to control our temper we are bound to snap at times. Although we confess it to be wrong and unkind, a little gossip now and then is always appealing. Even when we aim at being benevolent and charitable, we get mean and selfish sometimes. What we mean to do is be positive and optimistic all the time but indulging in pessimism and a self pity parade seems almost impossible to escape at times.
A perfect person does good ninety nine times in a hundred chances they are provided with. The one time when we fail proves that we are human. That we have emotions and feelings that are deemed wrong and shunned against. This one per cent brings out our worst and tames the monster of pride in us that believes we are perfect.
I feel that perfect would be boring. Have you ever imagined living everyday according to the book? That argument and reunion with your friend spices life up a bit. That illicit extra hour in bed when you’re supposed to be up and productive seems to be the sweetest.
What am I saying friends? Take it easy on yourself pal! When you fail, rise up and try again. If you were mean and selfish to someone, go back make amends and move on. That hour you wasted, recover it by putting in extra hours. If your friend seems to be saying all the wrong things when angry, move back and let them vent. After all everyone deserves to be angry in peace. If someone apologises for doing wrong, by all means forgive them. If they do not repent of their mistake forgive them still.
Let us create room for people to make mistakes. We should allow the people around us to be human. We should allow our self to be human too! Make room for friends and family to be vulnerable and weak. Allow others to be broke and to lack without seeing them as less of a man or woman. Allow others to be overweight or underweight without burning them at the stake .
What a world it would be if all of us were allowed to have our weaknesses and be supported in overcoming them. How wonderful it would be if guys were allowed to be shorter than six feet and girls were not expected to keep a flat tummy to be photo-worthy. How great it would be if children were allowed to fail then supported to try again over and over until they succeeded.
Let us allow ourselves to have shortcomings. The people we meet with should be allowed to be weak and angry too. We should be allowed a few fails here and there in the midst of our many achievements.
That is love! The greatest book(in my opinion) ever written records love as patient, and kind. It record love to be free of envy and pride. That love bears all things, believes all things, and endures all things. In allowing ourselves and others to be weak and imperfect, we allow ourselves to love. So dear friends, choose patience over judgement, choose love over perfection!
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