When Michael Burlingame spoke on Abraham Lincoln a couple of weeks ago, it was not the first time I had heard him speak on the subject and I have had the pleasure of many conversations with him. But it was the first time the strength and truth of his words struck me.
Abraham Lincoln, whether you like him or not, was the most accomplished writer of all our presidents--including Jefferson. What Michael pointed out so eloquently, however, was that Lincoln was a political hack until middle age. When he reached those tough years, he suffered a crisis--re-examined his life and emerged deeper, more eloquent, more purposeful.
This gives me hope that my life and my experience have not been wasted to this point, that I can put words to paper or computer that will inspire and comfort, that there are audiences who will hear my message, a message put in my heart and mind to give them. There is so much loss in this world; our life experience is the story of loss. We reach out to one another, across space, across time, through pain, through amazement, and find kindred souls.
We must never give up on one another, or ourselves.
Photo of the French Broad River in North Carolina by James Martin Davis.