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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

4 Ways To Be A Peacemaker

PEACE MAKER, by Ken Sande, espouses a system for reconciling faltering relationships that, when used, cannot fail. When we commit to glorifying God we see that there is always some sort of log in our own eye we must remove first. Once that is done, we don’t want to stand in the way of the other person assuming their own responsibility – if they see it. Lastly, we commit to go all out in a drive toward reconciling whatever can be reconciled.
Peacemaking has had a bad rap at times, but we should know, as Christians, that it is God’s will that we reconcile upon all our relational differences, as far as it depends on us. Sometimes full reconciliation is not possible, but at least we might be able to part not being enemies. There is always a better result to be had if we try hard to represent the rights of the unit.
The addressing of any conflict is on three parts: on you, and me, and on the part between us, or on us and each part of us.
We need to remove the log in our own eye. This is the most relevant and salient part, for when one person chooses to see the truth in their portion of wrong, and when they make amends, the other person can see the grace of God implicit in the arrangement between the two. There is usually a bending forward from the other in response – not always, but usually.
To gently restore another in their accepting their portion of fault for the conflict is about resisting the temptations of protecting them from their wrong and making too much use of their wrong. The former is likely to render reconciliation weak and ineffectual. The latter is likely to exasperate the other person, for they do not need to have their noses rubbed in it.
Finally, we do whatever we can – so far as it depends on us – to reconcile the best that is possible. Reconciliation is bigger than any individual, and even bigger than the unit. It has a ripple effect into many other relationships. Reconciliation, therefore, is always worth it.
There are four ways to promote a peacemaking existence: 1. Get the log out of our own eye; 2. Gently restore the relationship by allowing the other person to take their own responsibility; 3. Go and be reconciled by exhibiting the forgiveness of God, without delay, and thereby we find a way to 4. Glorify God.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.

Friday, December 27, 2013

But That’s How It Is

THERE are so many things in life we struggle to accept, but that’s how it is. There are many things we cannot change, but that’s how it is. There are also many things we must change and that’s just how it is.
These are realities that separate the mature decision from the not-so-mature decision. When we get it wrong – when we struggle to accept the reality as it presents – then there is always a negative consequence. Our situations end poorly or our relationships suffer.
Despite the realities of life that are presented before us as stimulus, there are also the realities of our response.
When we wilt under the pressure of the presented reality we are struggling to accept life, but that’s how it is.
Many of our problems are first world problems. There is not enough time, too much to do, problems around wants not needs, and relationship problems because of value clashes. In the overall scheme of things most of our problems are solvable when we approach them with realism, humility, and an absence of covetousness, when we are prepared to let go of our strangleholds.
When we put our problems in context – especially as we appreciate the level of choice we may have over them – we can find a way to live with ‘but that’s how it is’ situations.
Then there are those people who do struggle beyond first world problems. There is grief they deal with that is untenable. There is no answer, but that’s how it is, at least for the season of life. We can neither be flippant regarding the plight of the grieving, nor should we be pretending it will always be as hopeless as it is now. Recovery is always a choice. But it’s slow going. The shaping of a new identity can begin at any time. When we don’t give up, we get there eventually.
The Great Benefit Of the Virtue of Acceptance
When we approach acceptance, life is at peace. And life is at peace because we have met the truth. The truth sets us free. Sure, there is a moment of pain to deal with – as we hear ourselves utter the truth – but then there is the blessing of courage for having honoured the truth.
Acceptance can only help and not hinder the living of life. And once acceptance becomes more of a habit, when we go to acceptance without thought, there is a living courage we personify, and as we observe it in ourselves we experience confidence and we are encouraged.
We cannot change many things in life, but we can accept them. There are many things we are required to change, those for which we are blessed to accept. We may not like everything that occurs to us, but that’s how it is. Acceptance helps a great deal.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

High Times, Grief and Loneliness

Oh, how can life be
So despicably cruel?
Finding space enough
For reason in grief
Is like discovering
A rare jewel.
Like finding
A needle in an acre haystack
Is getting out of this,
It may take forever
Before life
Is anything again like bliss.
Experiences of high times, when life was rosy, and when we had no care in the world, and certainly no thought against anyone or anything, appear surreal on the memory as we consider life from the grief perspective in the midst of a high time.
Nobody else can quite understand the chilling loneliness that is like vinegar to our bones. It’s not like we cannot pretend; we can. But what would be the point in that? Even though we are with family we are not with the people we wish to be with. It’s not our family’s fault. They just want to see us happy. And we just want to be happy, stable, in control again.
Grief is bad enough during times of normality, but the sorrowful parts of the grief experience are accentuated during high times; when there is pressure to keep a good face. The person in their grief that has half an ounce of authenticity about them will refuse that opportunity to keep a good face, unless to do so would be to harm someone. Then they will keep their grief to themselves, but there will be a hint of despondency for the discerning to see.
High times, grief and loneliness coexist together because high times are polarising. They have us leaping within ourselves for joy or they have us shrinking – if we are honest.
It’s okay not to have it together.
Most of us don’t have life together even when life runs swimmingly. If it isn’t despair getting at us, it’s pride or rigidity or something else.
We need to feel as if it’s okay to experience grief and loneliness when everyone else is partying. Grief is what it is. Why should we deny our emotional experience when our emotional experience is undeniable?
At the same time, we might all use others’ passion and enthusiasm to sweep us off into a temporary joy. What harm can it do?
High times bring out our best and our worst. For the grieving it is definitely the worst. For those who just wish life to become normal again, the high time needs only to be endured. Those who must endure should inevitably live to enjoy high times again. Grief is what it is. Don’t fight it beyond a wholesome discipline.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Defeating Fear, One Day At A Time

“Danger is very real. Fear is a choice.”

— Will Smith, as Cypher Raige, in After Earth (2013)

FEAR comes in many forms, mostly invisible, but sometimes visible, regularly unknown until we know it, but sometimes very well known and highly anticipated.

Fear threatens. It prowls. It roars conspicuously. But we, personally, are the only ones exposed. Nobody else sees it like we do, personally. It is, therefore, a construction, a fabrication, something we make from our own material – and from the materials life gives us via our situations and the way we see them. We are all creative artists, but we don’t recognise that when we incipiently construct these imaginings, we give birth to a thing that looks like it can destroy.

Fear can only destroy us if we let it destroy us. Fear needs our permission.

We must be active in collusion with the fear, to believe in it so much that to takes over; we take it from having been created in our minds and we will it into actual creation, as it broaches true life, especially in our relationships.

Some of this is down way below the radar, so awareness of fear and how far it takes us is the key. The only true method for subduing fear is to become aware, to dissipate it in its initial movement, and to replace fear with faith. And, for it to work consistently, it needs to become habit.

One day at a time:

ü  Ask, “What are the threats just now, today? Are they real or are they magnified by my imagination?” Or, “How much of this present fear is being sponsored by my imagination?” Then relax.

ü  Dangers are real as much as they are dangerous. But danger is rare. We have the opportunity to become aware of danger (in real terms) and to create, every single day, the capacity for high alert, until it’s known that the threat has dissipated.

ü  Train yourself around the faith-response in preference to the fear-response. This is about the cases when you have discerned that your fears are less about real danger and more about what could but probably won’t happen.

ü  Be gentle with yourself. Fears can be highly taxing. Your energy is better conserved for a better thing. What is that better thing, just now?

Danger is very real. Fear is a choice. Wisdom splits the difference. With discernment we have power to meet danger with courage, and to dispel fears with faith.

© 2013 S. J. Wickham.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Making Things Right Having Done Wrong

“That’s a spiritual lifestyle, being willing to admit that you don’t know everything and that you were wrong about some things. It’s about making a list of all the people you’ve harmed, either emotionally or physically or financially, and going back and making amends. That’s a spiritual lifestyle. It’s not a fluffy ethereal concept.”
― Anthony Kiedis, Scar Tissue (2004)
Having resolved that what we did was wrong, we have a number of choices. Will we consider the losses to the other person – not just materially, but intangibly too – and make amends, or will we just wing it? After all, if we pretend that no amends is needed maybe they will, too, out of being polite.
A morally fair and spiritually sane person will see amends as the only option.
The reason they see it as the only option is they wisely view relationships as the objective of life itself. They don’t view people as objectives, but as the beloved of God. They notice the sanctity in a person, within them, around them, and between them and others.
Because relational life is the most important asset for living, and because its only gauge of success is truth, truth is what sets relationships free to soar. But when the truth is denied, then people are hurt and betrayed.
And making things right, having done wrong, is but one key way of ensuring faltering relationships can soar. Otherwise there is a barrier to trust.
‘Just Give Me the Truth’
Brave ones will just want the truth, whether they know they can handle it or not. Indeed, because it’s the truth, and the truth is so important to them, they are willing to pay the price – yes, even if they can’t handle it initially.
One vital truth we all know, probably by instinct, is that wrongs need to be set right. When one is transgressed, it can be put right again, if the one transgressed and the transgressor agree. All it takes is the willingness of the one who has done wrong.
If the one who did wrong can’t see it, the process of amends stalls before it starts. And if both are in the wrong, it almost certainly takes one to get the ball rolling!
What Shape Does Amends Need to Take?
Amends needs thought on our behalf – the development of a plan for what we must do and what we may be required to do – before we approach the other person. But amends is best done by agreement. So long as they are happy, and we are diligent enough to check, then the result is likely to be an effective one.
Above all, and beyond the actual ‘shape’ of the amends, is the spirit of serving that needs to accompany the amends. Amends’ work the very best when we are totally sincere and our integrity can’t be questioned – to the point of us being ready to be wrong, to serve, to be submissive.
We cannot make amends and take the moral high ground at the same time. A patient type of submission that attends to their needs is most important if we are to be genuine and actually see the amends work.
Making things right having done wrong is simply a matter of upholding justice and honouring truth. Some relationships can’t continue unless there are amends made. If we have done wrong we should be humble enough to make amends.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Emotional Threat Assessment Wisdom

THREATS we deal with on a daily basis, but we are not always that well developed in detecting what is a real threat from what is not. Sometimes we overreact, and worse, sometimes we don’t react when we should.
This article creates a discussion on Threat Assessment. It’s a wisdom article because it discusses the varying approaches and considerations of discernment to empower the reader to make more informed decisions related to the actual scenario they are faced with.
Why do we need to know this? It’s because we are tempted all the time to overreact emotionally, when to do so could spell damage, or we don’t react to real threats, and then damage ensues.
Making our own threat assessment is about us managing our emotions and making them subject to the discerned reality.
What Emotional Threat Assessment Consists of
Unlike most other risk assessments, emotional threat assessment is really not mathematical. It simply involves pausing within our minds, in order to give our minds the time they need to process what the feelings being experienced mean.
Threat assessment is about asking questions like:
þ     This situation feels ‘this way’, but is that the reality others are experiencing or would experience?
þ     Should I be upset by this? Is it as desperate as it seems? Or, why am I not reacting or responding to this?
þ     What would I expect the next person to do? What will happen if I do nothing? What might happen if I do something – could I respond prematurely?
When we have invited our minds to consider a situation we feel emotional about, we provide the mind its moment of space. It’s all our mind would ask for. It’s all our mind actually needs. We empower ourselves when we grant ourselves time to weigh feelings and reality; to discern truth.
Having given our minds the time to consider what has been felt, we make a more informed and a more confident decision. We feel comfortable that we have honoured the truth enough that the truth will honour us as we stay within its bounds.
Not everything we feel lines up with reality. Making an assessment of the emotional threat helps us stay calm in the harrying moment, it gives us confidence we have discerned reality’s needs, and it saves further emotional wastage and breakage.
Our minds were designed to complement our hearts and vice versa. Thoughts are made better for the inclusion of feeling information. Likewise, feelings are made safe when we test them against reality.
Threat assessment is truly about avoiding panic. This should be borne in mind whenever we face a threat, real or otherwise.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Being Raised from Rock Bottom

“Now, discipline always seems painful rather than pleasant at the time, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
— Hebrews 12:11 (NRSV)
As a computer slows and locks, requiring a restart toward faster performance, and we wither in fatigue without sleep, necessitating a nap that facilitates alertness, so too real-life rock-bottom experiences can mean life and hope for our futures.
But the rock-bottom experience is far from kind.  It takes us to a depth we’d not wish on anyone.  Suddenly life’s plunged into darkness and we can begin to panic. Indeed, panic summarises our life at this point.
It’s not until later that we see the purpose in a time so tremulous.
The wisdom of God is taking us there,
The condition and circumstance that strips us bear,
Discipline, as such, to show we’re loved,
Won’t happen, really, unless we’re shoved.
Desperation facilitates an inbounding grace,
We’ve never experienced such incredible space,
For considering God like never before,
God we know now — that’s for sure.
Sinking All the Way Down
None of us sinks all the way down willingly. We will all struggle and strive to arrest the slide. Sometimes we do arrest that slide, we miss the rock-bottom experience, and we save it for a later time, putting off the inevitable. Or we might miss it and therefore miss what God has for us, even in the midst of turmoil.
God, of course, many times has different thoughts on the matter.
Completely opposite to our understanding, God’s love takes us through this extreme experience; always for our good. We say, “How could God allow this?” We don’t see the longer term plan. We don’t see our pain paving the way toward a new us; a raised and revived us. Suddenly our true purpose is made known through this ‘valley of the shadow of death’ season.
Sinking all the way down, again, is not something we will allow to happen willingly. It’s more likely to occur by way of our removal of choice and control—the circumstances of life bewitching us for a time, but inevitably—as it’s revealed—not bewitching us at all.
Experiencing This Truth
Of course, we cannot agree with the foregoing unless we have actually lived the rock-bottom experience, or someone close to us has.
If we’ve never experienced this truth, it may still be coming toward us like a freight train through a tunnel. It’s not a jinx to think in these terms, for blessed is the person who is thankful for what they haven’t been called to endure, yet is prepared — at least in theory — for what hellish times may yet confront them. This is but another image of the fear of the Lord.
Actually Recovering
At the place of least resistance we learn so much more about God, and this new direction God is taking us. With time we begin to see the goodness in it. The process taking us from that old life to the new is clean and swift; in that way, so respectful. We see that afterwards.
Actually recovering is initially about surrender; then it’s about perseverance; finally, it’s patience.
With this new head on our shoulders, and a heart flexible to the meandering voice of God, we learn to navigate the choppy waters as the winds eventually die down. A season of soul-peace is born.
What is recovery from the rock-bottom experience — as a ‘felt’ thing — other than the normal process of grief? But then again, is there such a thing as a ‘normal’ process of grief? It is different for all.
What is common for all, however, is that surrender, perseverance and patience see us through.
Harsh and despairing times can be the impetus for being raised; we reach out to God in all honesty and sincerity. God meets us there. If we choose to follow God, and we continue to, life will work out, and much better than we could have ever hoped or dreamt for.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Why Feelings Are So Vital in Communication

“Relationships are built on communication, and communication is possible only when feelings are freely expressed, heard, and validated.”
— Dr. Matthew Jacoby, Deeper Places (2013)
RELATIONSHIPS are what make life function as it does.
At the Fall, what occurred was a relational failure. The object – Adam and Eve being in charge of their own destiny – came in front of the subject: God. Every time we objectify life, devoting ourselves to things over the people who more ought to have our time, effort, and love, we sin. We put object above subject; things before people.
But if we are to reverse the tide of objectification, then we must now sow very heavily and deeply into everything relational. Indeed, we cannot know God unless we are oriented relationally. And if we have the capacity to know God, we have the capacity and desire to know people – to connect and communicate. When that occurs it makes so much sense to us that the truth between people must be aired – after all, God is the God of truth!
Feelings must be expressed, heard, and validated for communication to work.
A Testimony of Relational Truth – Feelings Expressed, Heard, Validated
Truth is very important to human beings, whether we acknowledge it or not. This is because we are all made in the image of the God of truth.
Whenever we consciously deny the truth it harms our conscience – do it chronically and the conscience is seared. Being the God of truth, the Lord has designed life to work around it. Invite truth and we invite life. But if we suppress the truth we journey along the path of death.
Feelings are what they are.
They are about as close to the truth as anything. We feel what we feel, and, without judgment and condemnation, our feelings can help to explain a great deal of the mysteries of God – if we allow them a voice.
Can there be anything better than the testimony of relational truth: where feelings both raw and real are given flight and their natural altitude, without a ceiling being enforced over them?
Perhaps those scared most about airing feelings are those who worry for their lack of control. But this is about trusting God. We cannot grow in our relationships unless we are free to be truthful about how we really feel.
They are what they are,
Let’s accept this right now,
Feelings are feelings,
And truthful communication they’ll endow.
If we honour others’ feelings,
Better the deeper we go,
Safety means trust,
And relationships can only grow.
When feelings are expressed, heard, and validated the truth that’s communicated helps to set the relationship free.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.

Monday, December 9, 2013

So What Constitutes An Apology?

APOLOGY is birthed out of the womb of regret.
Apology can be seen as the outcome of expression for what is deeply lamented.
Three things are important in an apology: the words that are used, the sincerity behind the words that also links to action, and that the apology is full and unconditional, without retraction.
The Words Are Important
Some people won’t understand that for some people, indeed many, the words “I am sorry” mean a great deal. Of course, there are plenty of people who don’t need to hear the words, as they are looking for some other form of regret expression. But it cannot hurt and will very much help when we say these words. For some, though the words are important, they aren’t enough. The apology is backed up with the seeking of forgiveness, acceptance of responsibility, or the doing of things to make the situation right again.
When apologising we need to be ready for the ‘for what?’ question. In the words of an apology we need to nail down what exactly it is we are apologising for, and why – “I’m sorry for forgetting to pick you up on Tuesday (the what) and I’m sorry for the inconvenience and embarrassment it caused you (the why).”
Words in this context merely get us to first base, but we are sure to be out before hitting the bag if we are not sincere.
What Isn’t Said Is Just As Important
Sincerity is such a key to most communications. People have a radar for whether they are being conned or not, and they have every right to go away thinking ‘they actually got it’. There isn’t must use in even apologising if we haven’t meant it.
Behind all our words of apology is meaning. Why be a liar?
After the apology’s made, the tests of your integrity continue, at least in their eyes. They are on the unconscious lookout for signs that you either meant it or you didn’t.
No Subtle Retractions
Something that destroys a good apology – one that’s been heard and accepted – is the last moment retraction, where some rationale is given for doing what it was that caused the slight in the first place.
You were almost there, reconciliation as a masterstroke of sincerity, and then you blew your whole case by pulling back from the blame on yourself. You should have realised that their hearing and acceptance of your apology depended on it being unconditional – no strings attached.
So many matters of conflict that were actually being resolved end up at square one because of a retraction.
Nobody likes it when someone dilutes their apology. Make it sincere, through and through, for there is nothing to lose.
Apology is birthed out of the womb of regret. It has three characteristics: the words that are used – “I am sorry,” the sincerity behind the words which links to action, and that the apology is full and unconditional, without retraction (no buts).
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Grief – the Cost of Love

One wonders what price there is for love,
Yet all wondering is stopped abruptly in loss,
Suddenly when that loved one is called above,
We are left confused, overwhelmed and blatantly cross.
There is a price for love and there is something that is demanded from us the moment we lose that love – that demand is grief.
There is little wonder, I suppose, that many people try to settle for a safe life without love. The fear regarding the cost is felt too great. The losses, though they may not have been experienced yet, are too great. A ‘safe life without love’ is a forlorn measure, because we cannot not love and not betray ourselves.
Even though God has given us free will, he has forced us to love if we would live a true life – a life of truth. But, for all of us, though we aspire to live a life of truth, we cannot, so we end up being stuck in the middle – loving with reckless abandon, yet hopelessly ill-prepared for loss.
We have to cut ourselves slack. We will love. We will lose. We will grieve. To grieve is not wrong. To grieve is right. It is a memorial of our love.
Making Something of Hopelessness into Something of Power
I believe there is always a way to do better with what seems an unfair process of life. My belief is based out of a knowledge of God; that God has made a way for anyone to live a life of true power.
God wants us to live lives that are full of extravagant love for those we have been called to love – and he provides a way for us to do this without harming us.
We have to get around thinking that grieving is wrong. Grieving is not wrong; it’s normal. Grief comes as a transaction of love when we have lost. Grief is incredibly painful, exhausting, confusing, overwhelming, frustrating, and life-delaying, but what is profoundly sorrowful is not also wrong.
When we understand that grief is a process of life all its own, we take the pressure off. Sure, it will take a while – and too long, generally – to feel better more days than not. And ultimately, if we believe God is in control, and that he has a purpose beyond the pain of our grief, we shall grow through the pain.
Healing doesn’t for one moment mean that we won’t miss that loved one. Love is eternal and memories are unchangeable.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.

Friday, December 6, 2013

2013’s Ten Biggest, Most Memorable Events

What was the biggest event of 2013? Was it Nelson Mandela’s death, the destructive Typhoon Haiyan, or the installation of Pope Francis to the Papacy? Or was it something else?
In a year where the world’s population reached 7.198 billion, Gregorian Year MMXIII has revealed no less hype, drama and tragedy than we’re used to seeing.  Perhaps in terms of enormity the following ten events can be considered (in reverse ‘countdown’ order of importance) the biggest, most memorable:
NUMBER TEN – Typhoon Haiyan
One of the strongest cyclones on record, this storm, and the damage it brought, was the biggest single weather event bringing mass devastation for the year. Thousands were killed (5,822 confirmed) and millions misplaced. It devastated portions of South-east Asia. Winds that topped 270kph (167mph or 75m/s) were officially recorded. This hurricane has broken a plethora of records. Its damage bill is $2.4 Billion (USD).
NUMBER NINE – Legal Recognition of Same-Sex Marriage
There are now twenty countries that have recognised same-sex marriages, though many of these, like in the United States, only small portions, or States, have passed laws. Same-sex marriage is now a global discussion point and debate on its merits and problems is an agenda item for almost every country.
NUMBER EIGHT – Edward Snowden
American Edward Snowden breaks his oath and discloses mass surveillance program operations engaged by the US government to news publications. He flees the country and is later granted temporary asylum in Russia.
NUMBER SEVEN – Lance Armstrong Disgraced
In January, after a long investigation by USADA, Lance Armstrong, having long denied using banned substances, admits to doping in a television interview with Oprah Winfrey.
NUMBER SIX – Pope Benedict XVI Resigns
The first Pope to resign from the Papal Office since Pope Gregory XII in 1415 (who was forced to, due to the Western Schism), and the first Pope to resign under his own initiative since 1294, Pope Benedict XVI resigns due to declining health and old age. The resignation process commenced on February 11 and concluded on February 28.
NUMBER FIVE – Developments in the Middle East
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi is deposed by the military with Adly Mansour appointed interim president. Also, tensions and political unrest in Syria reach crisis point.
NUMBER FOUR – Aung San Suu Kyi
Aung San Suu Kyi is Burmese opposition politician and chairperson of the National League for Democracy in Burma, and the most prominent contemporary political prisoner in the world. She was released in 2010. Akin to Nelson Mandala – but in reverse (she was President in 1990 and was then under house arrest) – Aung San Suu Kyi stated in June that she will run for the 2015 Myanmar presidency in what is likely to be a massive regional development should she win and be allowed to govern.
NUMBER THREE – The Boston Marathon Bombing
Although there were relatively few fatalities and casualties, the scale of terrorism – to strike at the world’s oldest marathon event, and one of six ‘majors’ – defied belief, much the same as London (2005) and Bali (2002), but on a scale far less than September 11, 2001 in New York City. Three died and 264 were injured.
NUMBER TWO – Pope Francis takes Papacy
Pope Francis (Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the 266th Pope) becomes the first Pope to wash the feet of women in the Maundy Thursday service. Pope Francis seems to continue a more liberal and more compassionate stance from the Papacy than the traditional Roman Catholic Church might be remembered for.
NUMBER ONE – Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela’s Death
The Twentieth century’s paragon for peace, unprecedented in the scale of both his personal suffering and global impact he made for good, died peacefully, aged 95. Twenty-seven years of hard imprisonment at Robben Island preceded his single-handed unification of a broken South Africa in the 1990s. Perhaps most enduring of ‘Madiba’s’ legacies, however, is his personification of grace; his unstinting forgiveness of his transgressors.
Links to my analyses of 2012, 2011, 2010 and 2009 can be found here:
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.
Acknowledgement: source information from various pages on Wikipedia and HistoryOrb.