mandela As I was leaving campus today, I thought about my next blog post and resigned that it would be on relationships: choosing them, reigniting them, walking away from them, evaluating them … This decision was sparked by remembering a quote that a friend sent to me and asked my opinion” “The way that people treat you is a reflection of who they are and not who you are.” I thought long and hard about this and the premise of my post was going to be a personal sharing of sorts in re relationships that I have chosen at different points in my life.

However, I came home, took a quick nap and woke up to a text message about Nelson Mandela’s transition. My heart is broken!!! I knew I needed and wanted to blog, but how can I put into words why this hurts me so deeply? I began to think about the intersection of both events: my reflection on relationships and the death of Nelson Mandela.

As an adult, I have spent a great deal of time looking at my relationships, walking away from people, choosing to re-engage with people or some variation of the two. Often times, it seems like I am one of few people doing this: consciously choosing what I want in my life and what we share once they are there. One of the main reasons I do this is because of the inspiration I have received from people like Mandela.

I don’t think I will be remembered as he will be, nor will my life have as great of an impact as his BUT I do want to be remembered. I do want my life to be both purposeful and intentional. I do want it to be said that I lived a life of service, of giving, of inspiring – if even only a few. And this, my friend, is so intrinsically aligned with who and how I spend my time.

I now understand relationships of convenience, as well as those of obligation. I know understand co-dependent relationships and those that are only self-serving. I now get what it means to be in a relationship when we are the only ones giving, but rarely receiving support, inspiration or anything more that time lost. And I know now what it means to choose relationships when we are less than our best selves.

But I also know what a difference it makes when my circle is affirming and supportive. I know what it means to have people call my cards and remind me that there is work to be done. I now appreciate those who say, remember when … remember who … remember the forgotten.

I’d like to believe that Mr. Mandela chose his circle well. He aligned himself with those who were willing to walk the risky paths with him. He aligned himself with those who loved and sacrificed ~ those who gave of themselves for a greater and grander cause. I believe that Mr. Mandela choose. So I, too, choose.

Gone, but never ever forgotten.