Marja Bergen

author, mental health activist, follower of Christ

Part 4 – A voice calling – Gandhi

Así cambió Mahatma Gandhi las protestas políticas

MAHATMA GANDHI (1869 – 1948)

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, later named “Mahatma”, meaning Great Soul, was born in the princely state of Porbandar, India. His father served as a government official. He was very shy as a child and used to return home as soon as school ended to avoid talking to anyone.

When Gandhi was eighteen, he went to London to study law. Eventually he passed the bar exam and qualified as a barrister. But in 1889 his hopes for a successful legal career crumbled when, back in India, he lost his first case. He became so nervous that he couldn’t speak properly and fled the courthouse in a panic.

Years later, in his autobiography, he explained: “My head was reeling and I felt as though the whole court was doing likewise. I could think of no questions to ask.”

This fear of public speaking continued for much of Gandhi’s life. And yet he was the man who was a fearless campaigner for the rights and dignity of all people.

I wonder how many of us have such fears, thinking a meaningful life of making a difference is beyond us. How many of us are tempted to give up and hide? So much more comfortable it is to stay at home doing safe things! Yes it would be comfortable. But too much comfort could become boring. What reward does a life in hiding hold for us?

If you believe in something and have a passion for it, it’s never beyond you. Gandhi tells us the following:

“If I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.”

Gandhi saw many situations around him that were unjust. He had a passion to change them. Despite his speaking handicap, he found the gifts he did have, and used them. His difficulties speaking made him an excellent listener. He was calm, humble and compassionate. He learned to say more with less words.

I believe that God gives each of us the gifts we need to do his work. It may not be public speaking, but it could mean listening to elderly individuals who are lonely for someone to talk to. There are injustices all around us and there are small differences each of us can make. Think of the needs of a  homeless person! How could we as individuals help them? What organizations could we join that serve people with needs?

Helen Keller, that amazing lady who did so much in her lifetime, despite being blind and deaf, shares great wisdom with the following:

“The world is not moved only by the mighty shoves of the heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker.”

What an amazing thought!

…to be continued.

This has been Part 4 of the series A Voice of One Calling.  Read Part 5 – Gandhi, cont’d.

1 Comment

  1. Very interesting thoughts. Thank you for publishing this.

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