Ubuntu. I am, because you are.
My friend, the philosopher Pekka Himanen, called me recently early one morning this week from Finland, to offer his condolences for Mom, reminding me again of the South African phrase that our dear late friend Archbishop Desmond Tutu used with us as we worked together around the world, to make things better for others. In this case, others we did not even know. But maybe we did. Ubuntu.
No one goes anywhere, Pekka reminded me, they just stop manifesting physically. Now invisible to the eye, they transition and manifest — they can only be seen — with the heart. By the soul. This is why having a spiritual base for our lives is so important. So that you have eyeglasses that can see (meaning – into the inner being that we all possess — and possess us).
Ambassador Andrew J. Young told me recently that every day Dr. King is with him. A day does not go by that he doesn’t think about him or mention him. He’s still teaching. He didn’t go anywhere. Even though he was assassinated 60 years ago, on that balcony in Memphis, with Young right behind him. He continues to manifest. In the heart. By the soul.
The ones we love have not gone anywhere. They are still present in our lives and our world, and my mother is still present in me. She has not gone anywhere, though I personally witnessed her physical body — her tent for this world (as said by our wellness friend Stephanie Williams) fall away right in front of my very eyes last Sunday morning at 5:45am. Oddly enough, it was the birthday of her dear sister Emma, who was connected to Mom in mind, body, and spirit. Emma is rooted in the spiritual base that I reference. But holding mother’s right hand, this time for the last time, God Almighty seemed to have taken hold of her left hand, this time, for all time. For time eternal. In that moment, just as the body seemed to let go – He found her, cupped her in His everlasting lands, and took her with him. He knew that the world — that I — could not hold her together…anymore. She has returned to His home in her true essence.
As I have said, she walked me into this world as a newborn baby, and humbly, I was honored to help to walk her out of this world and into her next, as a Loved One of the One. This is Ubuntu. I am because you are. Connected. Always and forever.
She told me she loved me every single day of my life growing up as a child, even though oddly enough, no one really told her, verbally at least — that they loved her, either as a child (not verbalizing love, versus just showing it, might have been a norm of her mother’s generation) — or later even, in a loving relationship with a life mate, as an adult woman. She raised all of us, essentially, as a single mother. Doing it all.
I remember when I grew up in Compton when she would make these funny little suits — the purple, crush velvet, three-piece jobs (custom-made suits), and sent me to school — in Compton, California. I got beat up every single day. But I never dropped my briefcase, forgot the dream, or lost — even for a moment — a sense of who I now knew I was. This was the lesson that mom taught to her son. I am. Somebody. Ubuntu.
She told me she loved me, and that steeled me to this world’s indifference and selfishness. It allowed me to love, even when love in receipt was unavailable. It became my super power. The gateway into my personal version of self-esteem. It made me an individual, in a world obsessed with copies. It started me on my journey — the most important one of my entire life — of becoming reasonably comfortable in my own skin.
Nothing has become more important, in this physical world, than that. Mom gave me that source of energy as a Super Food. God’s love.
She gave me what even she wasn’t given by the physical world. But, what God gave her. Ubuntu. She was because He was. Because He is. The Lord Almighty. Full of love and grace. She tapped into This energy field as a child of God. To quote my friend, Bishop TD Jakes, she understood that there is a difference between energy, fuel, and gas. Gas comes from fuel, not the other way around. Only God and His indomitable Love can give you a true source of energy, or renew it. Only He can help you transmit it into useful fuel. But oddly enough, the world gives you — gives us all – just Gas.
We must remember where our source energy comes from, which was never a mystery for Mom. She was always crystal clear on our — and her energy source. Where her Love emitted from, she understood that love was the only self-renewing energy source in the world. Because Love comes from God.
As a philosopher once said, ‘We are not human beings, having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings, having a human one.’
It’s mom’s time now to rest. And it’s our time to work. As Dr. Scott Peck once said, ‘Love is work. Non-love is laziness. Anti love is evil.’ He continued, ‘evil exists, but it is very rare. Most people are just lazy. They don’t want to do the work that real love requires.’
Mom did that work for me and for her other two children — Donnie and Montie. She was all in, in this world. Ubuntu.
Mom has been Promoted. Gone on to a better place, released from the pain and the human anxieties of this world and embraced by the unconditional love of the next.
Thank you Mom, for giving us — and the world — literally everything you had.
You left us gas empty, yet energy and fuel full. Now, it’s time to give them love in Heaven.
John and Chaitra