Reflecting upon a day’s immersion at the Lincoln Home in Springfield, IL, the impact and meaning grips me with more power than I realized. Interacting with so many people, from the visitors to frontline Park Rangers to Supervisors to the Director of History and Education to the superintendent, brought multiple moments of fun-filled exchanges that brought greater understanding, deeper insights and inspiration.
Both the diverse staff and the worldwide character of visitors were all drawn toward the life and work of Lincoln, a giant magnet of a man connecting the idealism and practicality of a truly great leader for the American Democracy as portrayed by The Declaration.
All the presentations, for me, portrayed a picture that Leonardo might have painted with so many layers of humanity, grasping all aspects of the glorious and the tragic. The Director of History and Education presented me with a paper that he had written on the deeply rooted compassions of Lincoln, which drove him relentlessly to think deeply and to take action with uncanny courage.
Conversations which began with simple greetings turned into dialogues that were mutually enriching. Having been asked to describe what “motivates” my actions at the time of the 40th anniversary of The Provider’s Council, the experiences of the past 9 days has proven to me that much of my continuing drive to take actions comes from my interactions with others. Each conversation carries a depth of insight which I mix into my experiences of a lifetime to envision ways to create answers.
I presented the Olmsted Play in the theater where Lincoln’s life is portrayed in 30 minute movie. One focus was on his family, friends and colleagues. Olmsted had a number of personal interactions with Lincoln. In these cases, Olmsted was forthright with a clear purpose. Lincoln’s unique abilities, ultimate commitment, uncanny wisdom and astonishing perseverance grew Olmsted’s respect for the President to great heights.
Olmsted lived out his life through great obstacles in the spirit of Lincoln’s words: “I will dare to do my duty as I understand it to the very end.”