February 26, 2022

Archbishop Desmond Tutu – known worldwide for his progressive views – died in late December 2021, adding grief to a global community already struggling to survive, mentally and physically. His collaboration with the Dalai Lama in recent years on the Book of Joy makes me believe he would want us to honor his life with celebration and reverence for our shared humanity. 

So many of his teachings have relevance to how we build a foundation for candor – vulnerability, compassion, truth, and trust. I offer this list of quotes, both in honor of Desmond Tutu and in reflection on how we connect with those around us.

The quality of human life on our planet is nothing more than the sum total of our daily interactions with one another. Each time we help, and each time we harm, we have a dramatic impact on our world.

I am coming to believe more and more in the truth that everything we do has consequences. A good deed doesn’t just evaporate and disappear.

We must be ready to learn from one another, not claiming that we alone possess all truth and that somehow we have a corner on God.

There can be no healing without truth… That is what healing demands. Behavior that is hurtful, shameful, abusive, or demeaning must be brought into the fierce light of truth.

It is through weakness and vulnerability that most of us learn empathy and compassion and discover our soul.

You show your humanity by how you see yourself not as apart from others but from your connection to others.

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.

True peace must be anchored in justice and an unwavering commitment to universal rights for all humans, regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender, national origin or any other identity attribute.

My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.

Don’t raise your voice, improve your argument.

And lastly, this…

I wish I could shut up, but I can’t, and I won’t.

Thankfully, he didn’t.