Dec 6, 2013 By Steven R. Peck

Humanity has lost a colossus

If ever a man had reason to harbor resentment in his life, it was Nelson Mandela, who had been imprisoned, beaten, starved and cast out.

Yet he said, "Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies."

If ever a man could be expected to stand on high and receive adulation, it was Nelson Mandela, whose death Thursday took from the world a peerless statesman who probably was the most revered man on Earth.

Yet he said, "A leader ... is like a shepherd. He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind -- but is ready to move to the front when there is danger."

If ever a man might be forgiven for feeling validated by the luxuries of life that finally arrived for him, it was Nelson Mandela, who had been deprived of them for so long.

Yet he said, "No one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones."

If ever a man might have been pessimistic, it was Nelson Mandela in his prison cell.

Yet he said, "One cannot be prepared for something while secretly believing it will not happen."

If ever a man might have taken a rest after traveling such a long road to accomplishment, it was Nelson Mandela.

Yet he said, "When the water finally starts to boil, it is foolish to turn off the heat."

If ever a man might have become used to killing time or feeling that his life was wasting away -- behind bars, in his case -- it was Nelson Mandela

Yet he said, "We must use time creatively, and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right."

If ever a man might have wanted to turn his back on those who had mistreated him, it was Nelson Mandela, who suffered greatly at the hands of brutal oppressors.

Yet he said, "If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner."

If ever a man might have wanted respite, or deserved it, is was Nelson Mandela.

Yet he said, "Each time I climbed a great hill I realized that there are many more hills to climb."

And if ever a person might have yearned for a less-troublesome path through life, it was Nelson Mandela.

Yet he said, "The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall."

Nelson Mandela is dead. Humanity has lost a colossus.


MAIL SUBSCRIBERS: Thursday's edition of The Ranger was delivered to the Riverton post office at 3:25 p.m., in time to meet the postal deadline for next-day mail delivery.

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