My wife: I wish you would cry about me sometimes [note: she has never seen me cry - though I did cry once when she wasn't around.]
Me: You haven't died.
My wife: Is that what it takes?
And thus ends my long interaction with Abraham Lincoln. After 757 pages, I finally completed Doris Kearns Goodwin's book Team of Rivals - and I can definitely say that I am a better man for having read it. What an inspiration Abraham Lincoln was! I would definitely have to say that he is, bar none, my biggest hero (outside the Bible, of course). He is such a towering figure and there is so much that I learned from reading about his life.
I don't have time to go through all of the things I learned about his life, but here are a few reflections on the latter days of his existence (here on earth, I'm hoping and praying):
- His assasination was one of three attempted assasinations that were taking place at the same time. His secretary of state, William Seward (another inspiring man) was almost murdered at the exact same moment. He was slashed nearly to death as he rested in bed in his Washington home. The only thing that saved him was a metal plate that was holding his broken jaw in place - which was the result of a carriage accident 9 days before that nearly took his life. He was literally saved by that carriage accident - testimony that one never knows how providence can work things out.
- The other assisination that was to take place at the same time was against Lincoln's vice president - Andrews Johnson. The man who was supposed to assisinate him had second thoughts, and instead of entering his hotel room, went to the bar, pondered it for 15 minutes, and decided better of it. Thus, of the three, Lincoln was the only one who didn't make it through the night.
- John Wilkes Booth was an actor, as many probably already know. His brother, Edwin Booth, was the pre-eminent Shakespearien actor of the day. While Edwin was a Union supporter, John Wilkes was a Confederate sympathizer, having spent quite a bit of time in the South. All this goes to show that we should be very skeptical of actors - especially in relation to politics (see Matt Damon as exhibit B).
- Obviously, Lincoln was one of the greatest figures in world history. But a question naturally arises in my mind about him: I wonder how history would look at him had he lived out his three score and ten years and never been assisinated. Our admiration for people inherently increases when they give their lives for a cause, and Lincoln is no exception. Had he continued his second term and lived to be an old man, who knows what our thoughts would be about him today. I'm sure very positive, but perhaps not nearly as much as has resulted from his "martyrdom."