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Friday, November 23, 2012

Pain, Sorrow, Joy and Wonder



When my hair was a very dark, almost black, brown, I only cried if I fell and skinned my knee.

Later, I learned sorrow and sadness could cause a tear to come to my eye.

As I reached the beginning stage of "could my hair really be turning grey", a tear or two of joy would form and find its way down my cheek.

Now my grey is slowly but surely turning towards the "whiter side of grey" and although it happens rarely, I have noticed that a tear may have an etiology totally due to wonder.

The movie, Lincoln, was a moment of wonder for me....with a tear ever so reluctant (because "guys don't cry"), managing to traverse from the eye, to my cheek where, unwillingly, it finally met my handkerchief .
Although there were moving scenes through-out the movie, one of the most compelling did not occur on the battlefield, in the House of Representatives, or between a man and his wife who have lived a full, often  terrible, but love-enduring marriage.

The photograph above shows Lincoln in his study. To the left is a chair. The scene I felt told Lincoln's story better than any other was where the chair was placed in front of the window with Lincoln sitting upon it. He had his arms around his younger son, with both looking out the window. As in the picture above, it was hard to make out any distinctive physical attributes of Lincoln nor  his son. They were dark forms, bathed in light....but not visible. Lincoln's arms where around his son. His head bowed. A moment of peace. Lincoln's internal state could only be inferred by the story we just experienced and the coming of a dark future. This future was tinged with hope and rebirth of a nation, but without its unifying force.

Lincoln is a movie all must see. Not only because it is a truly great movie, filled with a nation and a man in pain. Not only because it shows a nation and a man steeped in sorrow and sadness. But also because it  suggests the joy to come.

As I write this, I am still in a state of wonder that these United States of America, born in rebellion, torn by civil strife and always seemingly on the verge of crisis; manages to be the one nation in all the known universe where we can seek a better life with liberty, happiness and the freedom to fail as we work towards success.

Lincoln, as shown by this movie, was all too human. He failed many times. Ultimately though, he was a success. We as a nation are a success. A tear or two of wonder honoring such a remarkable man and the nation he saved is indeed in order..... Even for a fellow like me moving towards that 'whiter shade of grey'.

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