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18 January 2007 @ 01:34 pm
Time, Myself, History  
Lost in night. Thinking.

If Lincoln knew his countrymen, his colleagues well enough to save Democracy, can I know myself? My fascination with Lincoln has quickly exploded into a fascination with the idea of knowing the right answer in times of chaos and/or confusion. Lincoln presents himself as a vessal for this train of thoughts because of the book I'm currently in the middle of.

Perhaps the winners who have written history have erroneously accounted our leaders as the eye of the hurricane, calm spots in the middle of turbulent times. Lincoln knew what to say, precisely when and how. His speeches are modern poetry. His ability to soothe the personalities around him in order to find the proper solution is suggested to be his political genius. Triumphant leaders in other times and places have similarly been romanticized for their ability to get the answers right.

My thoughts turn to this: If history is guided by those leaders who knew the right answers at the right times -- Washington knowing how to fight, Lincoln knowing how to speak, Gandhi knowing how to lead, King knowing how to organize -- if these people changed the course of the world for the better because they knew the right answers, then who now knows the right answers. Who now will make the decision to do the right thing, and not just do it, but do it the right way?

I search within myself to try to find what the right answers might be in my heart. I'm reaching for nothing. My heart does not fill with the right answers for the world, but the choices for my mind and my soul. I feel the power of a mountain trail and stride the distance between oceans in a single breath, because these are the things that make me feel alive. Airports still excite me the same way they did as a young child who looked out the window of an ascending plane and compared the world to Micromachines toys. I put my arms around Meredith and long to watch the sunset over the Chesapeake Bay at least one more time with her before I make my next decision.

My point is this: I am alive, but I am not a full life. My life is incomplete. I am nothing if not unfulfilled. But I am nothing if not ambitious.

I realize this: Washington and Lincoln and Gandhi and King were not twenty years old when they changed the world. Thought they may have had it in their hearts, they did not have it in their heads to do the things that history would remember for all time.

I have time to get my act together. I have time. I hope.