There are stories that have the power to move us to our core and completely change the trajectory of our lives. And I honestly feel that this short story told by the great Nelson Mandela has the power to do all of that and much more.
Powerful Story Told by the Great Nelson Mandela
“After becoming President, I asked some of my bodyguard members to go for a walk in town. After the walk, we went for lunch at a restaurant.
We sat in one of the most central ones, and each of us asked what we wanted.
After a bit of waiting, the waiter who brought our menus appeared and at that moment I realized that at the table that was right in front of ours there was a single man waiting to be served.
When he was served, I told one of my soldiers: go ask that man to join us.
The soldier went and transmitted my invitation. The man stood up, took the plate and sat next to me. While eating, his hands were constantly shaking and he didn’t lift his head from the food.
When we finished, he waved at me without even looking at me, I shook his hand and walked away!
One of my soldiers said to me: ‘Madiba, that man must be very sick as his hands wouldn’t stop shaking while he was eating.’
Not at all! The reason for his tremor is another, I replied.
They looked at me weird and I said to them: That man was the guardian of the jail I was locked up in. Often, after the torture I was subjected to, I screamed and cried for water and he came to humiliate me, he laughed at me and instead of giving me water he urinated on my head.
He wasn’t sick, he was scared and shook maybe fearing that I, now the president of South Africa, would send him to jail and do the same thing he did with me, torturing and humiliating him.
But that’s not me, that behavior is not part of my character nor my ethics. Minds that seek revenge destroy states, while those that seek reconciliation build Nations.”
What a powerful story. What a great man.
I find it fascinating that Nelson Mandela went through hell. And instead of becoming bitter and poisoned with hatred and resentment, he opened his heart to true love and true care, and allowed love, compassion, and forgiveness to transform him and his whole life. May we all find the courage and wisdom to do that as well.
**What about you? What are your thoughts on this powerful story? Do you believe it’s possible for more people to release the past and their hatred and forgive, even those that hurt them the most? You can share your comment below 🙂
P.S. I am deeply thankful I got to read and share this story with you. I truly am. And I hope we will all take some time to think about what we just read and realize that this isn’t just a story, this is real life.