The other day when I took my daughter for a checkup with the ophthalmologist, I noticed there were no wall clocks anywhere. It wasn’t a Vegas casino, so I thought it a bit odd.
You’re probably asking: “Why would you need a clock? Don’t you have a cellphone with a click on it you can look at?
Yes. I do. At that moment, though, my daughter was using it to keep herself occupied while we waited to be called back after her eyes were dilated. I also didn’t have my watch. The battery had died. We were going later that day to get a new one installed.
It’s funny. When I didn’t have the watch on my wrist, I would look there to check the time. Nothing there. Habit. When I looked and it wasn’t there, I felt a tinge of loss and a slight annoyance that I would have to stare at my phone until it recognized I was looking at it for it to come back on and tell me the time. With the watch, I was always secure in the notion that I could look at it on my wrist and know the time.
The watch is a throwback to a “simpler time” when we weren’t all so “connected” through our technology. Maybe that is why I felt loss when it wasn’t something I would have on every day. Maybe I, like many others, would like to turn back time (couldn’t resist, sorry) to when the Internet and cell phones didn’t exist. Why do you think shows like Netflix’sStranger Things, Fuller House, or any of the plethora of reboots out there are so popular. Those of us who grew up then are at a point where we can control the contributions to culture in a way we couldn’t before. And we long to go back. The world is more complicated and stressful now than it was when we were kids. We want the clock to rewind instead of tick ahead minute by minute. We’re at a point in our lives where there is less ahead of us than behind. And yet, we’re looking for the connection back so we can move forward.
I’ve found that my connection back is this timepiece my wife gave me. It’s back on my wrist. And now I’m ready to go forward again.
Former U.S. President Abraham Lincoln’s statue at the Lincoln Memorial is seen in Washington March 27, 2015. The 170-ton, 19-foot-high statue, formed from 28 blocks of Georgia marble, was sculpted by Daniel Chester French and carved by the Piccirilli brothers. The 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination at Ford’s Theatre in Washington is April 15, 2015. REUTERS/Gary Cameron – RTR4WKMZ
I found this writing from President Abraham Lincoln quoted in an article on The Atlantic’s website very insightful. Applying it to today’s political climate produces interesting results:
I am not a Know-Nothing. That is certain,” he (Lincoln) wrote in 1855, in a meditation that reverberates all the way to our current election. “How could I be? How can any one who abhors the oppression of negroes, be in favor of degrading classes of white people? Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that ‘all men are created equal.’ We now practically read it ‘all men are created equal, except negroes.’ When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read ‘all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics.’ When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty—to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.”
With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan–to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations. – President Lincoln, March 4, 1865
We may not think of Abraham Lincoln as “the most divisive president in U.S. history” as some have called President George W. Bush or President Obama, but the truth is Lincoln was president during the only time in our nation’s history that Americans fought against each other in a civil war.
Today, March 4, is the day in 1865 that Lincoln was inaugurated for his second term as President. The closing remarks of his address (above) were relevant then as a way to begin the healing the nation needed. Those same words have meaning today, much for the same reasons.
In the news, on social media, pretty much everywhere you turn, there are messages being shouted that pit one group of people or ideas against another. I look out and see our nation divided. I look out and see divisions, not just between Republicans and Democrats, but among those two groups. What I see is the rising tide of bigotry and racism. This tide is evil and has the potential to drown us all.
We can and must remember our history. We can and must overcome. We can and must do everything within our power to dispell the base instincts that are shouting for attention. Lincoln understood this. He spoke about it and took actions to stop the division. He took actions, just as we must today, to stand united, because should we continue to be divisive we shall fall.
Yesterday where I live we broke the record for snow on that day in our history. It was a lot of snow in a short amount of time. But, the day after made for some beautiful pictures. When the storm is the worst and it doesn’t seem like it will ever stop, be reassured that the end is near and beauty and hope will be there on the other side.