No One is Born Hating


My heroes when I was a child growing up in Grimes County, Texas were always the cowboys in old western movies I watched on Saturday mornings with my daddy.  They were men who settled their differences with guns but fired only at the bad guys who were easily identifiable as thieves, cattle rustlers, or other desperadoes out to do wrongs to innocent ranchers or townspeople.  The bad guys were often found drinking whiskey in saloons in the company of women with loose morals – women that sometimes turned out to be damsels in distress.  The cowboys rescued damsels in distress whenever they spotted one and fought to bring justice to the lawless frontier that was the American West.

As I aged, my heroes have changed, but the people I most admire are still the ones who try to lift my vision toward higher ground, and by higher ground I mean a place where justice and equality reign in tandem against the forces of unfairness and dishonesty and outright evil.

My cowboys have been replaced by men and women who choose to settle their differences with words that effect change as powerfully as the guns of the Wild West.  They are people whose examples give us hope of rescue when we find ourselves in the saloons we make of our lives.

Nelson Mandela was such a hero to me, a man whose extraordinary personal sacrifice changed the hearts of his own nation and inspired dreams for peace and fairness around the world.

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion.  People must learn to hate, and if they learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

Twenty-seven years of his life unfairly imprisoned, and this man speaks of love.  Twenty-seven years of a life without personal freedom, and this man becomes a symbol of freedom for his nation and the rest of the world. Twenty-seven years of his life taken away, and this man gives…and gives…and gives until he dies.

For me, Nelson Mandela was as brave as any cowboy I watched in the Saturday morning westerns of my childhood.  He didn’t have to ride a horse or shoot a gun to save a damsel in distress. Rather, he showed me the power of peace in the midst of turmoil and hope for  unity in a world divided artificially by the hate we’ve learned to love.

I will miss knowing he is here.

About Sheila Morris

Sheila Morris is an essayist with humorist tendencies who periodically indulges her desires to write outside her genre by trying to write fiction and poetry. In December, 2017, the University of South Carolina Press is publishing her collection of first-person accounts of the people primarily responsible for the development of LGBT organizations in South Carolina. Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement: Committed to Home will resonate with everyone interested in LGBT history in the South during the tumultuous times from the AIDS pandemic to marriage equality. She has published four nonfiction books including two memoirs, an essay compilation and a group of her favorite blogs from I'll Call It Like I See It. Her first book, Deep in the Heart: A Memoir of Love and Longing received a Golden Crown Literary Society Award in 2008. Her writings have been included in various anthologies - most recently the 2017 Saints and Sinners Literary Magazine. She is a displaced Texan living in South Carolina with her wife Teresa Williams and their dogs Spike and Charly. Her Texas roots are never too far from her thoughts.
This entry was posted in Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, Random, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to No One is Born Hating

  1. Anne Boring says:

    Right on, Sheila !!!! The Lord gave you the gift of words that I do not have. But I do have the heart. Thank you very much for your perfect words and your heart !
    Anne

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    • Anne,
      You are always such an encouragement to me about my writing, and I thank you so much for that. I woke up in the early, early morning hours today with Mandela on my mind. I had written down my two favorite quotes and wanted to write something nice to honor him. As I get older, the years are even more precious. To give 27 away is unbelievable to me.
      Thank you for your heart, too – C.H. was a lucky man.
      This is a difficult time of year for you, and I will be thinking of you and all of our family during the Christmas season.
      Love to all,
      Sheila

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  2. boblamb says:

    Love it, Sheila! And this is a great line: “They are people whose examples give us hope of rescue when we find ourselves in the saloons we make of our lives.”
    Consider the line stolen.

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  3. A beautiful tribute to a great man. BTW, I agree with boblamb!

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    • Thanks so much, Luanne. I appreciate your reading and send my warmest wishes to you and your family during the Holiday Season – the world is a little lesser for the loss of Nelson Mandela this Christmas.

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  4. Yes, you wrote beautiful tribute. He was a great man, a heroic man, a man of uncommon dignity, one filled with grace. May there be more of him out there!

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  5. Beautifully written, really powerful post.

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    • Wow, thanks Peacelovegreatcountrymusic! For some reason I find this blog to be very difficult to keep up with because it’s so very real to me. The Red Man is fun and funny, but this is hard to write and has a very select following. In other words, not that many people read it, but I know that you do and I’m glad. 🙂

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      • You write very well at both sites. I have been grateful for a spike in followers and I think it has much to do with my categories and tags. Your blog deserves a crapload of followers, it’s always insightful and makes me think. Try adding more categories and tags and I bet you pick up more. I’ll be reading anytime you post.

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