Be a good one
I never let Abraham Lincoln’s birthday go by without thought or comment. He was born 203 years ago on Feb. 12, and I remember when his birthday and George Washington’s birthday (Feb. 22) were public holidays. Sometime along the way when the three-day weekend became popular, Presidents Day was created and it became a federal holiday.
At a recent social event, some good-natured rivalry arose pitting people sitting on north and south tables against one another. I recalled one of my favorite Lincoln quotes spoken during the Civil War.
“My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right,” he said.
It’s a quotation that I’ve used for guidance for many years. Whether I am for something or against something, I need to be mindful of the bigger picture.
Another adage important to me is, “The palest ink lasts longer than the most retentive memory.” My brain is for thinking — my pen is for remembering.
But it is also a centering thought much like Lincoln’s is. If I’m struggling with something or someone, both quotes can provide clarity as long as I remember them. In keeping with the palest ink, I have a small notebook about the size of a business card where I keep these quotes and others.
When I am in trouble, when I’ve made a mistake I recall, “To escape criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.” A man by the name of Elbert Hubbard is credited with this quote.
What I really admire about Lincoln, though, was his deep hunger for books. His elemental need for books began when he was a young boy and he had very few books available for him to read.
“My Best Friend is a person who will give me a book I have not read,” Lincoln said. “Books serve to show a man that those original thoughts of his aren’t very new after all.”
While writing about Lincoln, I read a new quote, “Whatever you are, be a good one.”
I think that will be my truth for today.