It is with great sadness I learnt yesterday of the passing of one of my greatest heroes-Archbishop Desmond Tutu. What an incredible man. A truly highly evolved human being, he epitomised the love and joy I aspire to. Through his amazing life, he suffered many hardships but looked upon them as a way of learning and of understanding others. Living in South Africa under apartheid, he needed so much strength to survive, yet he did and smiling.
He came out of that terrible time in South African history, helping disparate groups come together in ways that no-one of that era could have ever imagined. I always remember hearing someone from South Africa talking about the day apartheid would end, saying it would be a blood bath. It could so easily have been that way, but with amazing men like Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela at the helm, it was as peaceful as it could be.
His goodness, generosity of spirit and kindness shone through everything he touched, but most of all was his ability to laugh. A few years ago, I was teaching R.E. to a class of 9 and 10 year olds. The theme was forgiveness. I found a video of my hero talking about it and played it to the children. Most of them had never heard of him, but as they watched, shared his laughter and listened to his wisdom, I observed them warm towards him, embracing his joyfulness. As it finished, they didn’t want it to end and insisted that I replayed the video again.
If you have never seen any of the videos with Archbishop Tutu and his good friend, the Dalai Lama, I urge you to watch them. They are wonderful. Two incredible men, from very different belief systems, yet united in their love of humanity, joy in living and deep wisdom. Their giggles and laughter are so infectious. I feel very privileged to have lived in a time when these two were alive, to witness their bond through books and videos and to hope that one day I might emulate a fraction of their attitude and approach to being a human.
For now, I send my love and thoughts to the family and friends of the wonderful being that was Archbishop Desmond Tutu and to the nation of South Africa who have lost a giant heart among men.