In an Elevator with Desmond Tutu

May 29, 2013

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An ordinary trip to the doctor’s with my family turned special.

As we were walking towards the elevator in an underground parking structure, I saw a small, older gentleman walking towards the elevator. My first thought was, “That looks like Desmond Tutu!” I motioned to my wife and whispered to her, wondering if she would confirm my suspicions

As we entered the elevator together, a nurse saw him, greeting the bishop. It was then he laughed his trademark laugh. I knew.

My wife asked if our boys could shake his hand telling them he was a very special man. The bishop quickly downplayed our compliments, shaking hands with our kids.

“Would you like a picture?” he offered.



As we turned to leave for our floor, I was able to thank Desmond Tutu for what he had done for South Africa and bless God for Him.

You see, men like Desmond Tutu are ordinary people who have been used to do extra ordinary things.  

As we prepared to move to South Africa 8 years ago, I read his book, No Future Without Forgiveness, about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission This event sought to use the power of forgiveness to heal the wounds of a nation. Together with Nelson Mandela, Bishop Tutu helped use the power of grace to change a nation. It is a story which has impacted the world and inspired me to give years of my life serving this nation.

Meeting Bishop Tutu was more than meeting a world changer.

His service not only changed a nation, it has forever changed my family.

I hope in those brief moments in the elevator he was able to glimpse his legacy. I hope he saw a picture of what he fought to accomplish in our family. Here are two brothers. One black and one white. This was not possible under apartheid.  

Brothers, of different colors of skin, is the legacy this man has gifted South Africa with. Without people like him, our family would be incomplete.

Bishop Tutu changed the world, he is a living legend in South Africa.

But, I owe my family to his service, sacrifice, and wisdom to use the power of grace and forgiveness to bring change.   

Bishop Tutu, from the bottom of my heart; Thank you!


To read more about Desmond Tutu, you can pick up a copy of No Future Without Forgiveness

No Future Without Forgiveness

Here are a number of the quotations from Bishop Tutu which I found in a matter of minutes. There are many more riches where these came from.

“We must not allow ourselves to become like the system we oppose.” 

“Our God is an expert at dealing with chaos, with brokenness, with all the worst that we can imagine. God created order out of disorder, cosmos out of chaos, and God can do so always, can do so now–in our personal lives. and in our lives as nations, globally. … Indeed, God is transforming the world now–through us–because God loves us.”

“Forgiving is not forgetting; it’s actually remembering–remembering and not using your right to hit back.”

“Differences are not intended to separate, to alienate. We are different precisely in order to realize our need of one another.”

“If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse, and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”

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A missionary teacher for 24 years currently living in South Africa. I am a recovering superhero, daily in need of the grace of God