We lost many peo­ple in 2021 who led excep­tion­al lives. One of the most notable loss­es was Desmond Tutu, Archbishop of South Africa. He, along with Nelson Mandela, helped lead their coun­try for­ward after the dark years of Apartheid. Tutu went on to become an admired and revered fig­ure worldwide. 

I remem­ber hear­ing this account dur­ing a ser­mon by a for­mer priest at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Winchester. I recalled it again today. It is regard­ing an encounter between Trevor Huddleston, an Anglican priest serv­ing in South Africa, and the young Tutu and his mother:

Desmond Tutu (Photo by Kristen Opalinski)

“Huddleston befriend­ed Tutu when the young boy was sick with tuber­cu­lo­sis and became a men­tor to him for many years. In an ear­ly encounter with Huddleston, Tutu recalls the priest tip­ping his hat at Tutu’s moth­er. Tutu was indeli­bly impressed. It was the first time he had seen a white man raise his hat to a black, work­ing-class woman.”  –Daily Maverick, South Africa, December 26, 2021

Recently a friend and I dis­cussed encoun­ters with indi­vid­u­als dur­ing our many years as help­ing pro­fes­sion­als. He told me of gro­cery store con­ver­sa­tions with peo­ple he remem­bers from many years pri­or, and those he bare­ly remem­bers. Inevitably, the per­son shares an account of the help they received when need­ed from my friend. 

He con­tin­ues to remind me that we sel­dom see the out­come of the seeds we sow, but what a joy it is when we do.

So my wish for you in 2022 is that we approach oth­ers whose paths we cross with kind­ness, dig­ni­ty, and respect.  Because we nev­er know when the encounter with us can be life-changing.

Happy New Year!

  • Sabrina Puckett

    Sabrina Puckett has lived in Winchester since 1989. In 2015 she retired from her work in Adult Protective Services with the State after 26 years. Since then, she has worked in Winchester in home­less ser­vices and com­mu­ni­ty men­tal health. She is a mem­ber of Better Together Winchester, Emmanual Episcopal Church, and is a mem­ber of the WinCity News and Views advi­so­ry board. Her favorite role cur­rent­ly is grand­moth­er to a red-head­ed tod­dler boy.