...and Continued on with Life.
Several weeks ago, I wrote about John Wilkes Booth and how he adversely affected America. While doing research on Booth, I came across the actual dream of Lincoln a couple weeks prior to being assassinated. I had known about the dream that he told Ward Hill Lamon but never actually read it.
Aside from the interest of reading the text of Lincoln's dream, what interested me was that in spite of dancing with death in his dream, he continued living his life. Lincoln realized that he was not immortal and accepted that truth. Therein lies a critical lesson for us.
Lincoln had always been aware of the tension between life and death. He said, "And in the end it is not the years in your life that count, it's the life in your years." While I agree with him, I wonder what event in his life motivated him to make that statement, which was years prior to his assassination.
Another thing that Lincoln said about life was, "Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be." He was able to decide how happy he would be regardless of the problems facing him. Lincoln was able to wrestle with family issues, political issues, the Civil War, and the list goes on, but he was able to continue to live in spite of the problems.
Booth's assassination of Lincoln probably had the most profound negative affect upon America's long history. We are still dealing with racism today, 150-years after Booth killed Lincoln. Lincoln and the Civil War ended slavery, but the South went from slavery to segregation. I graduated from college 100-years after the ending of the Civil War. Still the major issue in America then was racism in the form of segregation. These signs were the manifestation of segregation in the South.
It has been a half century since I graduated from college. Look where we still are with the birthers, photo IDs needed to vote especially in the South, and police officers killing black males. The most recent example was in Baltimore and the killing of Freddie Gray. Gray's death is a long list of police killing black males. Here is just a handful over the last year or so: Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Renisha McBride, and Amadou Diallo. These and other deaths are all a part of Booth's legacy.
Nonetheless, Lincoln left us a legacy also. While we are alive here in America, the land of freedom and equality, we need to remember and work at fulfilling Lincoln's legacy. Someday, we will all dance with death and die. The haunting question is how will we be remembered? What will be our legacy? The choice is simple. We can be remembered being like Booth or Lincoln.
Visit the Dancing with Death page to read more about this topic.