[Opening segment from six years ago.]
Frequently, like Steinbeck’s turtle, I feel myself traveling at right angles to everyone else. Or like Ishmael, I sometimes find myself growing grim about the mouth.
Steinbeck’s turtle keeps on truckin’. Ishmael goes to sea. I read.
Not just any reading will do, of course. Most of the time my cross-grain mood, the damp, drizzly November in my soul, will have been provoked by the news of the day. For relief in this instance, I turn to Abraham Lincoln or Mark Twain. One or the other usually consoles me. Sometimes, consolation precedes trauma, and keeps me, for one more day, from involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses.
This morning, looking for something else, I came across a familiar collection of Lincoln’s work, and noticed an unfamiliar bookmark. The page it marked contained Lincoln’s letter of March 5, 1865, to Thurlow Weed, thanking Weed for his kind remarks about the Gettysburg Address.
Here is what Lincoln wrote…
“I expect it [the Gettysburg Address] to wear as well as — perhaps better than — any thing I have produced; but I believe it is not immediately popular. Men are not flattered by being shown that there has been a difference of purpose between the Almighty and them.”
More than consolation for me, that is essential truth for anyone who is — or who claims to be — convinced he is an instrument of Divine Will. This is not to imply that Romney — or Obama — believes himself to be an instrument of Divine Will. It is an answer to those not in candidacy, but in partisanship, who believe Divine Will is a relevant factor in the upcoming election.
Listen: If God — your vision of a Supreme Being, whichever way your theology swings — wants a particular outcome, and if he/she/it/they are All Powerful, your input is unnecessary. If you believe that God wants a particular result, it is not up to you to make it happen. God can do it all alone.
Take a break.
Have a beer.