I know this post is long. Please read it anyway. I know it will inspire you because some people are just magical in their inspiration and Jason was one of those people.
I am posting this in memory of my cousin Jackie’s son. Our husbands call us twin cousins and I love her with my full and crazy heart. Jason keeps a strong grip on my soul. I learned so much from his young wisdom.
Some years ago, Jackie and her husband Skot, unexpectedly lost her 22 year old son, Jason, full of great promise and on the cusp of life. He was fluent in life and intention. A while ago, she shared an essay Jason wrote describing a semester he spent in South Africa.
The essay said in part,”I have learned here that wealth is not about money; it’s about family, friends, and community—the more you have, the wealthier you are. Here, in South Africa, people are always talking about community and “ubuntu”, focusing on it, adding to it, holding it up, living it. Ubuntu in the Xhosa culture means, “I am because we are.” I had heard about it before I left home, but it was only when I saw it in action that I finally understood and realized that it was I who was impoverished, not them. They aren’t “enduring” anything. They are loving life. In the US, time is money, and people live it. Here, time is life, and life is to be enjoyed. Here, people call each other brother, sister, mother, father, uncle, auntie, and they literally treat each other as family and care for one another regardless of blood relation. For me, this is the souvenir I take away from South Africa, not just the story about the time I ate goat intestines.”
Although we no longer see Jason, his presence remains strong. I know he is still among us, brushing by and whispering “Ubuntu.”
Mother Teresa said, “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten we belong to each other.” Today, in honor of Jason, practice Ubuntu. Then do it again tomorrow. And again.
As the children in South Africa told an anthropologist, “How can one of us be happy if all the other ones are sad?” Live as if time is life, care as if all you meet today are related to you. Be rich in family, friends, and community. Be an angel among us.
“I’m convinced of this: Good done anywhere is good done everywhere. For a change, start by speaking to people rather than walking by them like they’re stones that don’t matter. As long as you’re breathing, it’s never too late to do some good.” — Maya Angelou
Dear God, Thank you for angels. Thank you for Jason. Thank you for the wisdom of children. Open our eyes wide and permanently to each other. Make us know that we belong to each other. Shine your light on opportunities for us to practice Ubuntu and be an angel among your people. Bring us the peace of belonging to each other. Teach us, Lord, as the children know, that “I am, because we are.” With my child’s heart, Amen.