Resolutions for 20-Tutu (2022)
I’m trying — above — to be innovative in reflecting on the significance of the service honouring the life of Desmond Tutu, being scheduled for New Year’s Day. This is a bow to the fun-loving spirit of this global icon. His joie de vivre was sustained over nine decades, through extreme circumstances.
The start of a new year offers us time for reflection and an opportunity to reboot our lives, considering resolutions. It’s based on the reality that like no other species, humans share the capacity to be transformed — to change themselves — along their life journey.
This son of a domestic worker who grew up in the harsh conditions of a township in apartheid South Africa reminds us that personal agency can overcome circumstances. While small in physical stature, Desmond Tutu transcended his challenging background, demonstrating the capacity of a huge heart. This, for the courage to confront the police state tactics of apartheid, compassion for all, especially those on the margins of society and an ability to clown — not taking himself too seriously — to find the joy, even in dire situations.
He was aware that he had been blessed with connections to enough people of goodwill, like the priest Trevor Huddleston, thereby leveraging his transcendence of those circumstances. Thus he recognised the life-affirming interconnections of the community out of which he emerged, realised that it had no boundaries; eventually appreciating he was a global citizen. Consequently, any achievement, be it a designation as an Archbishop or being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, was leveraged in solidarity to benefit the whole planet.
This milestone offers an opportunity for me to consider resolutions; drawing from Tutu’s example:
Accessing courage: During these most challenging times, it is easy to react fearfully. Becoming self-aware facilitates my letting go of that reactivity, providing access to personal courage.
Maintaining integrity: Archbishop Tutu exemplified integrity; known as South Africa’s “moral compass“. As I remind myself of this principle, I access my personal power to address those challenges that life will offer.
Authenticity: He never got caught up in his titles or awards. He understood and lived the concept of equity with all of his “neighbours“. As I live authentically, I’m able to contribute my best to society.
Owning my joy: Like Archbishop Tutu, I appreciate that by not taking myself too seriously I find the peace so that I can access and share the joy in life.
Learning and living are life-long endeavours: Archbishop Tutu never rested on his laurels — facilitating the transformation of South Africa into a democratic society. He sustained the truth and reconciliation process post apartheid and courageously made politicians accountable. He went on and assisted with worthy campaigns, such as confronting President Bush’s invasion of Iraq, championing the rights of Palestinians in Israel and supported the movement to address the climate catastrophe.
I take this opportunity to examine my life, reflecting on ways that I can contribute in a life-long way, to a better world.
Please consider on this start of 20-Tutu (2022), ways that you might make changes that could benefit yourself, your community and your world.