November 21st: Ubuntu
So, if you have no idea what that word means, you are not alone. Pardon me while this gets a little bit weird, won’t you?
I woke up this morning, and as I was standing there, groggy and bleary eyed, trying to gather the things to make coffee, I noticed that the word “ubuntu” was repeating itself over and over in my head. Not only was it repeating itself, but I could see it, spelled out, in my mind. I did not have the first clue what that word meant, or even if it was a word at all.
So, I got my coffee going and I did what anybody would do when they want to find something out- I googled it. “What is ubuntu?” I typed out. Much to my disappointment, I learned that it was some kind of computer operating system or something. I scrolled for a bit, thought it over, and tried again- “meaning of the word ubuntu”.
And there it was. Apparently, it’s a South African word that means a quality that includes the essential human virtues; compassion and humanity. From what I gather, it is something like…I cannot be happy when I am making someone else unhappy. I cannot truly be happy in the presence of suffering. I am one piece of the collective whole…my actions matter. It is the quality of being human, expressing warmth. It is the divine spark of goodness inherent within each being.
So…that’s kinda weird, right? Not the concept, the concept is amazing. I mean the fact that this word found its way into my head this morning. I wondered if perhaps it was part of a meditation I’d done in the past, but I tried searching for it and couldn’t get an answer. Either way, it’s pretty obscure. And pretty cool.
Especially when I tell you this: Last night, I stopped by the store to grab a rotisserie chicken and on my way in, a homeless man outside stopped me. “Can you help me out with some food?” He asked. I paused, surprised. Normally I’m asked for money, so this was different. “What kind of food?” I asked. “I don’t know…maybe some bread and lunch meat?”
So, I didn’t hesitate. I was happy to do it. Normally, I wouldn’t even talk about something like this because, to me, announcing a nice thing you’ve done just takes all of the good out of it. I’m only bringing it up because it fits into all of this. Cam and I went into the store and we had a ball. We got bread, roast turkey, a hot chicken quarter from the deli (plus my rotisserie chicken, of course). We got brownies, mayo, mustard…just a bunch of stuff for this guy.
At the end, when I paid for it, I got a little twinge. I felt like maybe I shouldn’t be doing this. I’m trying to save money, it’s the holidays, I’ve been spending too much…but nevertheless, I felt good when I handed him the bag. Cam asked why I was smiling, and I said “Because it makes me feel good. No one should have to go hungry.”
I allowed myself to worry a little as I fell asleep last night, though. I need to be more responsible, etc., etc.
This morning, I woke up with this word in my head. I think it was a sign that I did exactly what I was supposed to do, to be honest. I think it had more than one meaning, honestly, but for now, let’s stick to this one.
When I logged into my bank account this morning, I saw that a check for a few hundred dollars had been deposited into my account. Imagine that.
There are forces at work in our lives that are far bigger than we are. So many things, both seen and unseen, that move us along our paths. When someone asks for help, give it if you are able. You and I are both part of the collective whole…what we do matters. It matters more than we might ever grasp on this plane of existence. Believe that all will be well, that all things work out as they are meant to and be one of the helpers. Never entertain doubt that your efforts are wasted or unwise. I have a feeling they mean a great deal.