Sunday, September 10, 2017

Lalibela's Wise Man by Matshona Dhliwayo Uses Story Set in Historical Site to Present Wise Advice to All!

Discovering wisdom in a book is quite exhilarating when you discover it unexpectedly... Sure, the title gives a hint but this short book turned out to be so much more!

We meet the main character, Christian, just after his father has died and final arrangements made are announced for the estate... Christian received a small box and nothing else...

Now some of us may not expect an inheritance, given family circumstances, but Christian's father had been very rich...

And he knew that he was his father's favorite son, although he was the youngest. Not only did his brothers get the full inheritance, but they immediately kicked Christian out of their, now, home, and of the family business.

Christian had a little money saved, but not enough to go on without working... But where? And how should he continue in light of the seemingly hostile actions by his father. Finally, he was calm enough and opened the box...In it was just a note to go see the Old Monk in Lalibela...

For those of us who have never been there, I wanted a little more information... Note that there is no information about Lalibela in the book being reviewed...

Said to be the location of The Garden of Eden...



Christian really had no other choice, the last wish of his father to his favorite son was to go find an old monk in Lalibela, Ethiopia... There, he was able to find a taxi to take him to the foot of the mountain where the monastery was located but he was to walk to the top, which took about two hours...




When he arrived, a monk who he guessed to be about 60 welcomed him and he allowed him to read the note from his father... Christian was directed to proceed forward...

He would stay at the monastery for seven days... Though many might think that it was to be an intense spiritual retreat, instead, one day they went out hunting; another day he carried a spear, but when a lion came toward him, he dropped his weapon and ran away. Christian was an intelligent businessman but what was he to learn from these daily activities? Another day he felt embarrassed to stay behind and visit with the children. Although he enjoyed very much meeting Daniel, especially who spoke English, he was afraid to ask the Monk what it was he was to be learning... Actually, as it turned out, much of what was taught was related to not only personal, but also business success.








It was only on the day he was to leave that he spent time learning the old Monk's wisdom...and so much more. The method by which the author has placed Christian into situations without understanding brilliantly allowed both Christian and readers to discover the wisdom to be learned... And the conclusion was unbelievably exhilarating! 

This was a very satisfying book. Not only did I learn something new about a place, frankly, I had amazingly never heard of, Lalibela, but the wisdom of the monk was a welcome time of restoration much needed by many people... I was impressed enough to go out and pick up another, similar book by the author about the wisdom of Solomon... I highly recommend you consider this book for many reasons...


Ledet (Christmas) falls on December 29 Ethiopian calendar (January 7 Gregorian calendar). Ethiopian Christmas is celebrated after 43 days fasting known as Tsome Gahad (Advent), with a spectacular procession, which begins at 6 AM and lasts until 9 AM. After the mass service, people go home to break the fast with the meat of chicken or lamb or beef accompanied with injera and the traditional drinks (i.e. tella or tej). Ethiopian Christmas is colorfully celebrated in Lalibela at the rock hewn church of Bete Mariam (The House of St. Mary) by an overnight chanting and the early morning ecclesiastical dance and chanting by the deacons, priests and the cantors who all wear typical traditional cloth and climb on to the surrounding courtyard rock hill known as Mame Gara that encircle the church of St. Mary. The day marks both the birth of Jesus Christ and King Lalibela and it is why thousands of pilgrims make their pilgrimage to the site for this particular festival.


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Matshona Dhliwayo is a Canadian based Philosopher, Entrepreneur, and author of books such as The Little Book of Inspiration, Creativity, The Book, 50 Lessons Every Wise Mother Teaches Her Son, 100 Lessons Every Great Man Wants You to Know, and Lalibela's Wise Man. He is also a regular contributor for the African Leadership Magazine.