Friday, December 29, 2006

Revisit, Rethink, Revise

During Abraham Lincoln’s terms of office, he and his wife Mary Todd Lincoln held regular receptions at the White House on Tuesday evenings and Saturday afternoons. Also on January 1st, the President and Mrs. Lincoln received guests, both old friends and new faces. People were a priority.

This is their typical New Year’s Day schedule: Near 11:00 A.M., officials and diplomats arrived and went through a reception line, greeting the President and Mrs. Lincoln. About 2:00 P. M., the public streamed in, some had prepared short speeches. By the time Lincoln’s gloved hand found theirs, they had time only to shake his hand and utter a few words.

Mr. Lincoln usually wore a black broadcloth suit, called a “clawhammer” suit. He wore white kid gloves in the reception line, and shook so many hands that his own hand swelled afterwards. Eyewitnesses reported his glove “always looked like it had been dragged through the dust-bin.”

Abraham Lincoln, not only invested time at these orchestrated events, but in everyday life he identified with the oppressed and tried to relieve their distresses.

On December 31 at the strike of midnight, the year 2006 will be history. New Year’s Day is a good time to shake hands with the old year, revisit, rethink, and if needed, revise plans.

Carl Sandburg’s book “Abraham Lincoln, The Prairie Years and The War Years” is one of my favorite biographies. In it are many stories of personal encounters between Mr. Lincoln and many races. Although he rose to one of the most powerful positions in the world, he didn’t forget his roots or that his best investments were in the welfare of others.

An old Chinese proverb states: If your vision is for a year, plant wheat. If your vision is for ten years, plant trees. If your vision is for a lifetime, plant people.

God’s clarion call is for people to love Him with all their hearts and then to love each other. The Ten Commandments outlined respect for God and fellowman. When asked what commandments were most important, Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind . . . and love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39). He also said when we do something for others it’s like doing it for the Son of God.

In 2007 plant wheat to feed your neighbors, plant trees to shade your neighbors, and grimy your gloves from working with people. Because, when you lend a hand to people, you touch the face of God.

You may reach Cathy at

No comments:

Post a Comment