May I have your attention please?

"Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment." ~Rumi

amber wave of frosty grass

Dear POTUS Candidates,

Hi there! It’s Gail from Born Free Newsletter. If you have a minute, I’d like to share something with you.

Now, I know we’ve never met….and you’re gifting valuable time to an unknown, but THIS IS IMPORTANT!

This is important!

This is important!

This is important!

Many years ago, my husband brought home a real paperweight of a book—2 pounds, 5 3/4 ounces. Really! I weighed the hefty tome.

If memory serves, I scoffed at his choice. Who did he think he was bringing home The Living Letters of Lincoln: The man and his times, in his own words?

Back then, I had no interest in such self education, and I most certainly didn’t want my better half to get smarter than me!

How dare he challenge our status quo?

So I did what any good wife would do…
teased and made fun.
What a clod.

Ignoring me, he read, but did not finish. Honest Abe’s face stared at me from our bedroom window seat until I brought the book down to our family room mantle as part of a 4th of July display. After the fireworks, I packed Abe away in a box and stuffed him in the attic. I can’t say exactly how all 2 pounds, 5 3/4 ounces made its way back out.

Memories are elusive, you know?

Cutting to the chase….

Over the last decade, I’ve grown—not from too many chips and bowls of ice cream—but rather in the matter between my ears.

How? you ask.

Books and connection to new and different.

That’s all it takes to be a Renaissance woman….or man.
Those are the types of folks I’d like to lead me.

Anyhow, I’m making friends with Abe’s letters and within the first 12 pages I’ve found three things I want to share with you.

  1. At age 22 Abe wrote: His parents were decent, honest Americans of their time and place. It’s the “of their time and place” that really got me. My interpretation is that the past can be a guide, but we should not let it hold us prisoner to our present.
    What does it mean to you?

  2. Encouraged by neighbors to seek election to the Illinois legislature, Lincoln wrote a letter to the citizens of Sangamo. His primary thought was to benefit the county by “opening good roads and clearing navigable streams.” He also spoke to education saying, “I view it as the most important subject which we as a people can be engaged in.”

    Then….the humility of the sentiment below had me scribbling in my notebook with a yellow Ticonderoga!

    But, Fellow-citizens, I shall conclude. Considering the great degree of modesty which should always attend youth, it is probable I have been more presuming than becomes me. However, upon the subjects of which I have treated, I have spoken as I thought. I may be wrong in regard to any or all of them; but holding it a sound maxim, that it is better to be only sometimes right, than at all times wrong, so soon as I discover my opinions to be erroneous, I shall be ready to renounce them.

    What do you think of that?

  3. When one of Lincoln’s opponents tried to ruin him with rumor, Abe called the chap out on his sly backstabbing and innuendo. In a letter, Lincoln requested the gentleman publicly divulge any evidence which should cause the citizens to forfeit confidence in him. For if “he knows that thing, and conceals it, is a traitor to his country’s interest.”
    Spill it and let the citizens decide?

My eighty three year old father called me the other day and read something he came across on his “dumb phone”.
“NBA or NFL?” he asked.
Then he read off an extensive list of crimes.
Next he said, “This is not a list athletes Gail, it’s Congress—people we’ve elected to run this country.”
What does a daughter say to that?

Let me conclude by asking….

What are you reading?
What influences you?
Do you see the forest beyond the trees you are courting?