There is an old woodsman proverb from the 1800’s that says, “A tree is best measured when it is down.” That proverb was recalled by one of the people in the room when Abraham Lincoln died. The train that carried Lincoln’s casket went through seven states, 1662 miles and stopped at various cities along the way so the people could morn their beloved president. It was reported that over 30 million people lined the railroad tracks waiting for the funeral train to pass by. Abraham Lincoln was the most beloved president in American history. In death, he was measured as a man found worthy.
The true measure of a man is often not fully known and acknowledged until the end of his life. That to me, is a very humbling thought. I think of several actors in the news lately that were believed to be real gentlemen, only to have found out that the whole time, they were just acting.
Think of yourself and how you will be measured and remembered when you are gone. If you are reading this blog post that means you still have time to change course if needed and become the person you want to be remembered as.
The following is a news report of Billy Graham speaking at a birthday luncheon that was given in his honor. When Billy stepped to the rostrum the person told him, “we don’t expect a major address Mr. Graham but please come and let us honor you.” The following is the story that Billy Graham told that day.
“I am reminded today of Albert Einstein who was honored as the Man of the Century. Einstein was once traveling from Princeton on a train, when the conductor came down the aisle, punching the tickets of every passenger. When he came to Einstein, Einstein reached in his vest pocket. He couldn’t find his ticket, so he reached in his trouser pockets.
“It wasn’t there. He looked in his briefcase but couldn’t find it. Then he looked in the seat beside him. He still couldn’t find it.
“The conductor said, ‘Dr. Einstein, I know who you are. We all know who you are. I’m sure you bought a ticket. Don’t worry about it.’
“Einstein nodded appreciatively. The conductor continued down the aisle punching tickets. As he was ready to move to the next car, he turned around and saw the great physicist down on his hands and knees looking under his seat for his ticket.
“The conductor rushed back and said, ‘Dr. Einstein, Dr. Einstein, don’t worry, I know who you are; no problem. You don’t need a ticket. I’m sure you bought one.’
Einstein looked at him and said, “Young man, I too, know who I am. What I don’t know is where I’m going.”
Having said that, Graham continued to his Charlotte crowd, “See the suit I’m wearing? It’s a brand new suit. My children and my grandchildren are telling me I’ve gotten a little slovenly in my old age. I used to be a bit more fastidious.
“So I went out and bought a new suit for this luncheon and one more occasion. You know what that occasion is? This is the suit in which I’ll be buried. But when you hear I’m dead, I don’t want you to immediately remember the suit I’m wearing.
“I want you to remember this:
“I not only know who I am. I also know where I’m going.” KT