Shawls and Shoulders

Friday was the anniversary of the 13th amendment. To celebrate two of my boys, my husband and I watched for the second time Spielberg’s Lincoln.  We hauled a laptop, speakers and projector up to the cabin. We tacked a sheet up over the window for a screen and watched this incredible story of a life well lived. So what were some of my take-aways this time?

  1. Direction may come in the middle of doing. Lincoln is dictating a telegraph after grappling with direction he should go in inviting Southern leaders to Washington for peace talks. After dictating an invitation and prior to it being sent, he asks the two young men if they think people are fitted for the time they here. One answers that he is not so sure about himself but that he believes Mr. Lincoln is. The other responds simply that he is an engineer. That gets Lincoln talking about Euclid, about how he isn’t that educated with engineering but having read Euclid it stuck in his brain and the truth that things that are the same are equal. He has an epiphany at this point and asks that a change be made to his message at which point he instructs those bringing the men up from the South to take them to certain point before they get to Washington and wait till further instructions.
  2. Mary Todd should claim our empathy. After the amendment passes there is a scene where Lincoln is riding in the carriage with his wife. She assures Lincoln that he was not only fit for this time, but extra-ordinarily so. While history would rightly look at him with awe, they would see her as a disparaging uninspiring player in the drama. Then she observes that in reality she represents the ordinary, normal person. Her reactions will demonstrate how the impossible pressures and demands would have taxed any ordinary person.
  3. Being happy or miserable is a choice. Lincoln says to Mary during that carriage ride “We have been miserable too long, we must try to be happy.

Recently I have had similar experiences.  I guess that is why these three things stood out for me.  I ask myself why the Lord has entrusted me with resources and what he needs me to do with them. This morning as I read from the scriptures I received the needed reminder of who it is that wants us to be miserable in this mortal journey. Re-visiting Lincoln’s story was for me like a shawl placed over my shoulders yesterday in the temple. Warming and comforting to an ordinary woman wearied with the weight of burdens she is trying to bear.  This morning I’m reminded who doesn’t want me to be happy. I, like Lincoln says encourages Mary, must try to be happy.

2 Nephi 2:27 Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and call things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.

Interesting how this scripture talks about all men being free- just like the 13th amendment sought to ensure, and includes a bit about who it is that is not concerned about our being happy.

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