Since my last post, What can we learn from a tomato plant?, we’ve sadly heard of the passing of Nelson Mandela. Now, this might sound like an unsympathetic question but, should we be sad about the death of Nelson Mandela? Or should we be celebrating his life?
As noted in the last post, we don’t expect tomato plants to live forever. We know the plants won’t go on forever, and it’s not a big deal because there are plenty more younger plants coming along. What we’re really after is a good crop of tomatoes. As long as the plant has produced some good tomatoes in it’s time, we silently acknowledge it and thank it and then replace it with a new, younger plant. In fact, seeds from the dead tomato plant could well have been used to grow the new younger plant and its foliage could be in the compost that’s now feeding this new plant. As a result, we’re still getting good crops of tomatoes and all is well.
There is a parallel with humans here. We’re not expected to live forever. That wouldn’t be natural. There’s plenty of new, younger people coming along to take our place in natural cycle of life. Our job is to produce a good crop of tomatoes in the time that we have. We have to find out what our “tomato” is (like Joseph Campbell’s “bliss” – see Finding Joe) and then do the best we can of producing that crop during the time we have. We’re not supposed to try and produce anything else other than our tomatoes. We’re not supposed to waste our whole lives and not produce any tomatoes. Our job is to produce tomatoes as best we can for the betterment of the whole world.
Now, getting to Nelson Mandela. He has died at a very respectable age of 95 and he has produced some of the best crops of tomatoes the world has ever seen. Should we be sad? Sure, there should be some sorrow that he’s no longer around, but we should also feel honored and lucky to have had the benefit of his life for so long. His wonderful tomatoes have benefited the whole human race and we are definitely better off because of the life of Nelson Mandela. We should be profoundly thankful, and happily celebrate the life of such a wonderful man and the long lasting legacy he has left us.
One of his quotes that I really like is;
“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite”
This is just one example of the benefit Nelson has provided to us all (one example of his magnificent crop of tomatoes). Now is the time for us to be thankful to him and acknowledge such a great man. It’s also time to look out for the new, younger tomato plants coming along that will build on his legacy.