Today we commemorate Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. It is well known that he loved his mother Nancy and that she was central to his world view, both before and after her death at the young age of 34. Nancy famously taught Abe to read (the Bible) by lantern. He was a voracious reader. Abe’s little sister’s name was Sarah. Obviously, Nancy had a thing for biblical names too. Interestingly, Lincoln’s paternal grandmother was named Bathsheba. Bathsheba was the woman with whom King David committed adultery. She was also the mother of King Solomon, from whom we get some of the pithier parts of the Bible.
Here is one of my favorite Proverbs (21:19) of Solomon’s: “It is better to live in a desert land than with a contentious and fretful wife.” You can take that one to the bank. Doesn’t that make you laugh? Poor Mr. Understanding.
President Lincoln, married to Mary Todd Lincoln, probably longed to live in a desert while married. Never one to withhold her opinion, Mrs. Lincoln was a bossy pants. Overcome with grief by the loss of almost all of her children and her husband, she moved to France towards the end of her life, primarily to escape her eldest son Robert who previously had her committed to an insane asylum due to depression. This is what happened to women who suffered from depression back in the day. (Thank you, Jesus, for advancements made in the treatment of depression and anxiety). In France, Mary participated in seances so she could commune with her lost sons and husband. I like to think she made it to Lourdes and experienced some healing.
After visiting the Mary Todd Lincoln house in Lexington, KY last spring I gained tremendous insight into her tragic life, her profound intelligence, and her capacity for love, both of country and family.
This Mary has been much maligned.
But today we celebrate her fabulous husband, to whom we owe these United fifty States. Where would we be if he hadn’t been born?
“The struggle of today, is not altogether for today — it is for a vast future also. With a reliance on Providence, all the more firm and earnest, let us proceed in the great task which events have devolved upon us.”
–Annual Message to Congress, December 3, 1861
Herewith concludes Day 3.