You may have seen the idea floating about on Facebook–people posting their first blog post. It’s a fun little exercise. After all, how many of us have been around the blogs we read since their early beginnings? I, for one started blogging at the end of 2005. I had just lost my job at a family foundation–a job where I could make a difference. A job I loved. I was floundering a bit, so I decided to write a series about inspirational folk. Titled ‘Imagine,’ it would be a look at the hardships great people endured. I still think it’s a good idea; it would behoove us to stop every once in awhile and consider what makes a life great. After all, greatness is often only recognized as such when you look back.
So without further ado, my first blog post, originally posted November 26, 2005 . . .
Imagine a boy, born into a poor, illiterate family, in a dirt-floored, one-room log cabin, in the backwoods of Kentucky. His own father ridicules him for wanting to learn–for taking precious moments between chores to read. Yet even though his formal education is sparse, he continues to read, borrowing books from neighbors, and reading by firelight at the close of the day. Only at twenty-two does he begin to learn the basics of math. He works as a clerk for a small country store. A year later the store goes bankrupt. He and a friend purchase a store of their own. It too falters, leaving behind a mount of debt. He becomes Captain of a military company, but the company soon disbands. One woman he loves dies, another turns down his proposal. At times he battles severe depression. He obtains a patent. Yet nothing becomes of his invention. He runs for Congress. He loses. He runs for U.S. Senate. Again he loses.
No doubt many of us would take the hint. Enough things go wrong, what’s the use in even trying? Besides, what good could possibly come of such a life? What good indeed . . .
Through wit and devotion this boy became a man of friends. Through dedication and integrity he put himself through law school and actually became known as an honest lawyer. Through perseverance and conviction, he became one of the most influential people of all time. Sure, he may not have won the senatorial election, but he won enough votes to become the 16th President of the United States of America–helping to create our national currency, fighting to keep the union together, and most importantly, beginning the process to end slavery.
Next time we face one too many setbacks let us think of Abraham Lincoln. A charmed life his was not. Yet he continued to live out his convictions; he chose to continue to fight, even when the battle seemed uphill and his heart was breaking. If, despite everything, he still managed to make a difference, chances are, so can we.