It may seem strange to compare perhaps the greatest political figure of our time with a retired nurse from Ireland, but last week I watched both the memorial services for Nelson Mandela and the movie Philomena which tells the true story of Philomena Lee. I’ve been thinking about two things Philomena and Nelson had in common. They both had to wait a long time to realize their heart’s desire and they both practiced forgiveness.
Nelson Mandela waited in prison for 27 years before he was granted an unconditional release that allowed him to be a part of the negotiations to end apartheid and become the first democratically elected president of South Africa.
Philomena Lee waited 50 years before launching a search to find her illegitimate son who had been sold to an American family by the order of nuns Philomena worked for as a laundress. Although her son, who became a legal advisor to two American presidents had died, she was able to find out that he had desperately wanted to find her. She had prayed for him every day for 50 years. Philomena decided to share her story with the public so other biological parents and children might have a chance to be reunited.
Nelson Mandela refused to be bitter. He forgave the people who had imprisoned him.
Philomena also refused to be bitter. She forgave the nuns who sold her baby and refused to hate them even when she found out they had deliberately withheld information from her that would have allowed her to find her son before he died.
Patience and forgiveness. Valuable lessons from a Nobel Peace Prize winner and a loyal mother.
Other posts about forgiveness……..