An Angel Unaware

Abraham Lincoln, our sixteenth President, is reported to have said, “All that I am, or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.”

Lincoln’s biological mother, Nancy Hanks Lincoln, died when he was nine, and he was raised from the age of nine and a half by his new mother, Sarah Bush Johnston Lincoln.  I wonder which lady he was referring to in that statement.  I suspect it may have been Sarah; if so, I wonder if he always thought she was an angel.

I wonder how many times she had to tell him, “Shut the door.  Were you born in a barn?”  or “Wipe your feet before you come into this cabin!”  I wonder if he rolled his eyes and wagged his head when she told him to wash his hands and clean behind his ears for the one millionth time.  I wonder if he thought she was an angel when she had to tell him “no” to the things he wanted to do, or when she repeated instructions because he didn’t seem to hear her the first time.

I wonder if . . .

Ten-year-old Abie wants to read some more, but it is late, and the oil is running low.  “Mama, please, just one more chapter.”

“Okay, but then you’ll put out that light, say your prayers, and get to bed.”

“Yes, Mama.”

“Sleep tight.”

“I love you, Mama.”

“I love you too, Abie.

. . . . . . . .

Junior High Abraham feels like a misfit.  He is moody and melancholy.  Sarah asks him, “What’s wrong, dear?”

“The kids tease me.  They call me a long drink of water and ask me how the air is up there, things like that.”

“You don’t pay any mind.  You hold your head up, put your shoulders back, and walk tall, son.  Use your sense of humor and be your own person.  Always be honest, fair and compassionate, and remember how it feels to be bullied, just so you never treat anyone like that.  You are the most handsome young man in that school, you know.”

“Aw, Mom.”

. . . . . . . . .

Teen-age Abe wants to read instead of chopping the wood.  His mother calls, “Abraham!”

“Don’t call me that any more, Mother.  I’m Abe now.”

“Okay, son, but whoever you are, that wood needs splitting.”

“I’ll do it in a minute.”

“Take care of your responsibilities, son.  Be dependable.”

Yeah, yeah, yeah, how many times do I have to hear that?

. . . . . . . . . . . 

President Abraham Lincoln is pacing back and forth in the Oval Office.  He is in the midst of a great Civil War, pitting brother against brother.  The nation is torn apart, and he bows his head to pray, just as his mother had taught him to do all those years ago in that little log cabin.  How far he has come and yet, his boyhood home is still in his heart.  He calls on his God for wisdom, courage and strength in order to face the turbulent days ahead.

As he rises from his knees and stares out the window, he remembers those days in that cabin; and I wonder if not only his mother’s words ring in his ears but also his own words of description of her:

As Little Abie:  “I have the sweetest and prettiest mama in the world.”

As Junior High Abe:  “She’s pretty cool when she’s not wearing that ridiculous sun-bonnet.”

As Teen-age Abe:  “What a nag!”

As President Abraham Lincoln, the Rail-splitter, Honest Abe, the Great Emancipator: 



“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 23:6).



About Jan Hamlett

Exploring faith outside the safety of Sunday
This entry was posted in Cluckings, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to An Angel Unaware

  1. Lisa says:

    Love this. 🙂

  2. jenny says:

    Great piece!! Happy Mother’s Day!! : )

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s