Sunday, September 29, 2013

Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, and a touch of George Washington

"This is the history"
Genesis 2:4

Long but interesting day today.  And a fun family day.  We drove to the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley California.  The kids and I have been there before, the Apple of my Eye never has.  (A full-time job makes it hard to join the family on field trips!)

It was several years ago the last time I was there, though.  It's an awfully long drive from our house, through plenty of LA traffic.

We went there for two reasons, really, neither of which really had anything to do Reagan, surprisingly.  Well one sort of did...

The one that sort of had to do with Reagan is Air Force One.  I say "sort of" because he was one of several Presidents to fly in that aircraft.   Not to mention all the other Presidents that have flown in the Air Force Ones that are almost exactly like this Air Force One. 

{Yes, I Know That Grammatically-Speaking, 
The Word "President" Should Not Be Capitalized 
Unless It's Part Of A Title.  
But I Think It Looks Better Capitalized.  
And I'm The One Doing The Typing.}

So it didn't have to do with just him.  But it's at his Library, so there ya go.

Photo credit:  The Apple of my Eye.  Or maybe this was taken by my Awesome Girl.  Not sure...

The other reason we went was for the exhibit the Library was hosting about President Lincoln.  My major in college was American Studies, and my emphasis was the Civil War, so I've long been a Lincoln scholar.  I've read books, I've watched movies, I've taken classes, I've been to museums and monuments and historic homes. 

And yet, for all the Lincoln I've studied, and all the papers, photos, paintings and artifacts I've seen, I was pleased to see a few things today, that I've never seen before. 

For instance, there was a painting of a lovely young Mary Todd.  I have a soft spot in my heart for Mary Lincoln.  She was a far-from-perfect, but very complex woman.  And she lived a difficult life, in a difficult era.  So I think she gets a bit of a bad rap.   And many of the photos and portraits you see of her don't do much for her.  Her stature and weight, and the fact that no one smiled for pictures in that time can lead us to believe she was cranky, or cause us to wonder why Mr Lincoln married her. 

Like this one:

Photo credit: I found this on - It was taken by Matthew Brady

But look at the painting I saw today:

Photo credit: ~ This was painted by Mrs Lincoln's niece

I know; she still looks a little dour here, but I also think she looks lovely.  The lace of her dress, and her hair down, seem to soften her a little. 

There was also this piece of art, done in 1866, I believe:

I don't know how well you can see that, but it is George Washington welcoming Mr Lincoln into heaven.  Isn't that interesting?  I'm quite sure I would have remembered that, if I'd ever seen it before.

And then there's this:

This is the pen that Lincoln used to sign the Emancipation Proclamation.  And to be totally honest, I can't be sure I never saw this before, but if I have, I've forgotten about it. 

I wonder why we ever get to feeling knowledgeable or expert on things, when there's always more to learn, and when we're always in danger of forgetting what we've learned.  I guess it's because, when we compare ourselves to someone else, we can find someone who knows less than we do, and that makes us feel elevated. 

But I'm also reminded of the fact that there's always more to learn.  Scripture talks a lot about knowledge, and I love knowing that as I study His Word, I'm learning more about Him, and about myself, and others. 

I also love knowing that I'll never learn it all.  I can study a book, and then years later study it again, and have it be a much different experience, because I'm not who I was.  Or my situation is different, and my need for understanding has changed.  "Seek, and you shall find," He said.  But you know what is even better?  Seek more, and you will find more!

~ "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
   and knowledge of the Holy One is insight" ~
Proverbs 9:10

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