Nelson Mandela died this week. I won’t say that I know a whole lot about the man. He’s one of those twinkling stars that occupies my background. Much like Mother Teresa and Red Skelton I know they existed and they each in their own way changed the world, but I don’t know much about them personally. I’m hearing bits and pieces of what Nelson Mandela was like as a person. Not only was he a beacon of hope for millions of people, but according to many, he noticed people. He interacted with people on a very personal level.
This is what intrigues me. I like to watch people. Not in a crazy stalker way, although a subscription to People magazine might suggest otherwise. I’m interested in what people do and why they do it. I try to imagine what people’s stories are when I see them sitting in a restaurant or an airport. We call it, “making the movie.” If I were making the movie of this person’s life, what do I imagine would be beyond this scene? Is it immensely exciting or rather banal?
I tend to think my life is pretty boring. I’m just a wife, mom, daughter, friend… But when I think back I realize that my life is comprised of normal mixed with crazy. I think about my childhood and I realize that some aspects were much different from those of my peers because of who we were as a family. One year my dad and I drove up and down the east coast doing antique shows in convention centers and malls. I’ve spent more than one night in a shopping mall. My dad and I used to run road rallies. The kind where you’re given a set of directions, and if you do it right you end up at the right destination. My mom worked at a geriatric hospital that put on a Christmas show each year. I was often a player in that show as a young child. As I got older I was a candy-striper, where I learned how to make hospital corners.
I’ve lived on three continents and visited some amazing places. As an adult I’ve lived in an Embassy community and been to balls. It sounds exciting, but when that is how you define normal, it doesn’t seem all that exciting. I think most people would think that their life is pretty boring (except maybe Oprah) but from the outside it looks interesting. I think all people have a story to tell and offer a very entertaining movie to us spectators. The trick is to appreciate your movie. In the moments when you are feeling stuck in a rut, or down because your life isn’t as exciting as your neighbor, understand that you have a uniqueness that makes your life just as valuable and just as interesting. You are you and that changes the world. You may not feel like a Nelson Mandela, but I’m sure Nelson Mandela didn’t feel like a Babe Ruth.
The point is, you are the champion of your own revolution. You are the single light of your change. Get out there and sing your vision!