Today at last, The Greatest--Muhammad Ali was laid to rest. I heard his funeral and memorial via the radio. I saw pictures via web newspapers and while I feel great sadness at his passing, I also am overjoyed with the knowledge that he did more than box and earn championships.
I never met this man except through old black and white television, so I have no person to person connection to him--his family and friends have the honor of knowing him better. Yet I am pleased with stories by people who met him by chance and whose chance encounter with the man filled them with hope and the love he shared. These are good things to know about another human being. Why? The answer quite simply is that it proves that each of us in our one on one encounters with other human beings have the same talent for spreading hope, joy, warmth, and most of all love. The stories coming out from people who knew him are those uplifting.
Considering the conditions in our society with so much cynicism and fear and even hatred of things and people who look different from ourselves, the lessons of Ali's life as showed in his funeral cause us to pause and reflect. Is what we experience outside our communities what we want for our nation? I don't think anyone who loves this country really wants for our country to live in fear and in a manner that is reactionary instead of thoughtful. We can work out of love for all of humanity as Ali did. We can build bridges to other people and in the process we can break down walls of fear, envy, and need other peoples around the world seem to have about US.
In closing this blog entry I would like any passing reader to consider if we can make the changes within ourselves to make our lives happier and more loving. Can our country likewise, build the kinds of alliances that lead to peace first and war never.
As the pragmatic idealist that I am, I certainly hope this is possible.
RIP, Muhammad Ali You were an example for the world even if you did not start out to be one.