In commemoration of Independence Day 2015, I would like to share words of wisdom that emerged from South Africa’s victory for freedom and human rights.
These passages are taken from Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s book “Made for Goodness,” which he published with his daughter in 2010.
Life-artists are people who use freedom to “create lives of beauty.”
“Creating a life of beauty is a choice. We are given the freedom to choose how we will use the gifts and challenges that we are given.” (p. 54)
“…Out of the cacophony of random suffering and chaos that can mark human life, the life artist sees or creates a symphony of meaning and order. A life of wholeness does not depend on what we experience. Wholeness depends on how we experience our lives.
In a life of wholeness…we will still confront the death, grief, and pain that are part of human reality, but they will not destroy us. A life of wholeness can accept, even embrace, death, grief and pain. They are essential parts of the fabric of life. They lend texture to life.
In a life of wholeness, we will endure failures. And we will come to know so many of our own flaws. But that will not defeat us. A life of wholeness can meet failure as the wisest teacher. A life of wholeness can accept flaws and vulnerabilities as doors to relationship. If we can do all things flawlessly, we have no need of anybody else…Flaws and vulnerabilities destroy the illusion of self-sufficiency and can open our eyes to our common humanity. Flaws and vulnerabilities can build the bridge to human community and to a relationship with the divine.
In a life of wholeness we may face brokenness and endure woundedness, but our suffering will not be meaningless. Meaningless suffering is soul-destroying.
Time and again I have been with people who have undergone unspeakable anguish. I have listened to people who have been subjected to brutal torture. I have sat with people who have borne terrible loss. Some could find no meaning in their suffering. Years after the horror had passed, the memories still held them hostage. Others…possessed a freedom that was theirs even as the apparatus of state held them bound in chains.” (p. 48-49)