Once when Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa was speaking at General Theological Seminary in New York City, one of the students sitting in the audience nudged the dean, who was sitting next to him, and whispered, “Desmond Tutu is a holy man.” The dean in response asked, “How do you really know this?” To which the young man quickly replied, “I know that Desmond Tutu is holy because when I’m with him I feel holy.”
Source: Robert Wicks, The Resilient Clinician
(Oxford University Press, 2007) pages 4-5
- Can the same be said of us by those who we encounter in our daily lives?
- What do people experience when they are with us? Do they experience a sense of respectful space where they can rest their burdens, anger, questions, projections, stress, anxiety, and wonder?
- Or, do they feel our sense of exhaustion, need to always be right or in control, or even our desire to be viewed as wise, attractive, witty, or helpful?
A little girl walking down the street with her mother, stopped at a balloon vendor’s stand. He was selling helium-filled balloons. The child was intrigued as she watched the balloon man occasionally let go of some strings releasing a few balloons into the azure sky— blue balloons, red, green, white, black, and yellow balloons!
Marvelling that helium-filled black balloons floated as easily as red and green ones when the vendor let go of their strings, the curious child said, “Excuse me sir, how come when you let go of the balloons—green balloons, white balloons, red balloons, even black balloons—they always float up into the sky?”
The man replied, “Love, it’s not the colour of the balloon that matters. It’s the stuff inside.”
Source: As told by South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu,
no stranger to being discriminated against
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
A drunk crossed the street and accosted a pedestrian, asking him, “I shay, which ish the other shide of the shtreet?”
The pedestrian, somewhat nonplussed, replied, “That side, of course!”
The drunk said, “Shtrange. When I wash on that shide, they shaid it wash thish shide.”
Source | Desmond Tutu, God is Not a Christian: And Other Provocation
(Harper One, 2011) page 5.
Where the other side of the street is depends on where we are. Our perspective differs with our context, the things that have helped to form us. Change your point of view, shift your standpoint and the whole picture changes!