Honesty, sincerity, simplicity, humility, pure generosity, absence of vanity, readiness to serve others – qualities which are within easy reach of every soul – are the foundation of one’s spiritual lifeNelson Mandela
The notion that we cannot be without each other, is a message that we need to constantly revisit. It is an idea that many struggle to follow. The world celebrates individuality and individual achievement. We see this with the many articles on the internet that praise the individual for being “brave” for speaking out against what is wrong, for showing themselves as they truly are and doing any number of things that at another time would be deemed routine. It becomes easy for all of us to lose sight of the really important things that are often times not praised or recognized. In a world where it seems that we are compelled to think about self or survival of the fittest, we forget sometimes the importance of the collective effort.
Someone close to me recently had thirteen heads of cattle stolen and the main suspect turned out to be a friend he trusted more than many of his family members. That person was someone he helped to work on his house and ironically, whom he had bought three of the stolen cows from. He was always someone he was constantly willing to help with a financial loan. For his part, the friend helped him to take care of the cows. He would buy the required shots from him because he was also rearing cows. And whenever he did not know what to do he would get advice from his friend. It came to a point where the cows were thriving; looking even better than his friend’s cows. While everyone around him suspected this friend, he was in denial; denial is not a river in Egypt.
If we are to focus on the humanness of both the victim in the above story and the perpetrator what would we see? Could we understand how such trust could be breached or would we want vengeance for the deep betrayal. Granted we are only human and not God, but how satisfied would we be with exacting vengeance. Would the person who lost the cows get them back and would he truly be satisfied? Would the betrayer now see the errors of his ways and change? These are all challenging questions not easy to answer.
I have spoken before about Ubuntu and here I invoke the words of Judith Rich
What if what you want to be will only come about when you ensure that others get to be that as well? And what if all of humanity was on your team working towards your goal?
What if that friend had stopped at helping with the health of those cows and giving advice? Would that have given him the wealth he obviously craves? The reality is that friend is now viewed with suspicion and hate and at some point he will go too far with someone more committed to revenge. While the victim has to consider how to start over, with very little. It is doubtful as to whether or not we can truly succeed on our own, but it is without question that we thrive much more together. We now have to consider the value in thinking and living the paradigm of The Dream Team: ” I am because you are”.
An anthropologist proposed a game to children in an African tribe. He put a basket full of fruit near a tree and told the children that whoever got there first won the sweet fruits. When he told them to run, they all took each others hands and ran together, then sat together enjoying their treats.
When he asked them why they had run like that when one could have had all the fruits for himself, they said, ‘UBUNTU, how can one of us be happy if all the other ones are sad?’