When you think of libraries, you probably think of books and that would be correct. If you think about the Library of Congress, then you would be partially correct. The Library of Congress contains many spectacular and remarkable collections—items from our nation’s history. There are things that retell the story of who we are and from where we have come.
One of those one-of a-kind collections is related to Abraham Lincoln. It is the odd collection of items contained in Lincoln’s pockets on the night he and Mary attended the play at Ford’s Theater. That was to be the last night of his life. On that night, Lincoln was carrying in his pocket:
- Two pairs of spectacles and a lens polisher. One pair of spectacles was broken and had been repaired with string wound around it to hold it together.
- A pocketknife – ivory inlaid with silver.
- A watch fob.
- A white linen handkerchief (oversized), hand embroidered with “A Lincoln” in red thread.
- A brown leather wallet containing a five-dollar Confederate note.
- Eight newspaper clippings
Each of these items is easily explainable. These are many of the items I carry in my purse. Well, I don’t always carry a knife. What surprises me are the newspaper clippings—why newspaper clippings? The clippings were stories from different newspapers around the country and were all recent articles. All were about Lincoln and his recent political campaign. Every one of the stories contained encouraging words and praise about something Lincoln had said or done. That’s the reason of why newspaper clippings.
With the weight of a nation on his shoulders, this is how he coped. This was how he survived all the criticism. That’s the power of an encouraging word. I can only imagine how heavy his heart must have been. Have you ever felt like that? I have. Proverbs 25:11 says, A word spoken at the right time is like gold apples in silver settings. Nothings gets me out of a funk quicker than receiving an email or text message reminding me of God’s goodness, His faithfulness or His bright hope for tomorrow. I recall an especially bad day a few years ago. I poured my heart out to Carole Lewis and her response was not a brilliant solution to my problem. Her response was simply “It will be okay.” An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up (Proverbs 12:25). I was going to be alright.
I have a silver ring on which I keep all of my cards and notes of encouragement. This odd little collection is precious to me. These words are more effective in lifting my heart than the most delicious chocolate cakes!
And this is the power of a word. Let’s keep talking.
First Place 4 Health National Director, American Council on Exercise, Certified Fitness Instructor, Certified Life Coach and Wellness Coordinator for her church in Edisto Beach, SC. Vicki is author of Don’t Quit Get Fit and Wellness Journey of a Lifetime. She has led a successful First Place 4 Health ministry in her church for twenty years.