I guess I’m hyper-aware of language and attitude when it comes to talking about death so I’m glad to hear the term “celebration-of-life” in the news today when referring to Nelson Mandela’s death – and I didn’t hear it just once. Reporters on every channel are using the term.
A celebration-of-life is more than an event, it’s a frame of mind. It honors the life of the person who died and uplifts the people who live. Of course there’s sadness and grief attached to death – that’s a given – but the real way to honor a person is to celebrate the life they lived and the impact they had on you – or in this case – the world.
I like inspirational quotes and there’s one in particular thought to have come from Nelson Mandela but was written by Marianne Williamson. I heard it in the movie “Akeelah and the Bee” and it touched me so much I re-wound, wrote it down, found the author and I keep it taped to a booklet I take with me everywhere. If I were the author, I would take pride in this confusion.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
― Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”