I’m not sure how my words will find you when you read them, but I pray that they find you well and bring you hope and perspective.
How amazing and fitting is this moment that God is leading you into, and how amazing and fitting is it that everything else had to fall and be chiseled away so that you could stand in the beauty of this moment.
We stand in the shade of trees planted nearly 200 years ago; and before there were roots, branches, and falling leaves, there once was a seed. It took many seasons for these trees to grow, and I truly do not believe that we should so easily cut them down with words of malicious talk, war, and partisan bickering.
We know and enjoy the beauty of autumn 🍂 in its season, but isn’t it true that there once was a seed before there was a tree?
“In the middle of the 19th century, as the United States was ensnared in a bloody Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln and abolitionist Frederick Douglass stood as the two most influential figures in the national debate over slavery and the future of African Americans. They met together three times in the White House, and while Douglass was at first harshly critical, he ultimately came to view Lincoln as ‘emphatically the Black man’s president: the first to show any respect for their rights as men’ ” (Evans, F. 2022, January 27. Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass: Inside Their Complicated Relationship. History.com).
Do we, again, as a nation wish to fight wars that have already been won, and as a people who should be united, do we wish to take our country back…to the future? Our fights and issues may no longer be over slavery, but there are so many issues that have begun to so easily beset us. We fight with our words, we fight with our anger, and we have so easily begun to allow anger and resentment to tear us apart.
You see, evolving involves growth, development, and redevelopment; and the beauty of this process is not always completed in one season. Criticism of the constructive kind gives way and allows for cultivation, creativity, and an opportunity for freedom for all – and this is what the history of the past teaches us.
I’m no historian, Beloved, but I am someone who admires history and the influential leaders of its time.
“President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, as the nation approached its third year of bloody civil war. The proclamation declared ‘that all persons held as slaves’ within the rebellious states ‘are, and henceforward shall be free.’ […] Although the Emancipation Proclamation did not end slavery in the nation, it captured the hearts and imagination of millions of Americans and fundamentally transformed the character of the war. After January 1, 1863, every advance of federal troops expanded the domain of freedom. Moreover, the Proclamation announced the acceptance of black men into the Union Army and Navy, enabling the liberated to become liberators. By the end of the war, almost 200,000 black soldiers and sailors had fought for the Union and freedom. From the first days of the Civil War, slaves had acted to secure their own liberty. The Emancipation Proclamation confirmed their insistence that the war for the Union must become a war for freedom” (The Emancipation Proclamation. National Archives.).
President Lincoln and Sir Frederick Douglass, at first, had a complicated relationship but later on soon found what was constructive in criticism, allowing them to cultivate and create an opportunity for freedom. They also became friends who would come to admire and respect one another.
You see, trees 🌳 tell the story, and the seeds that are planted, once they begin to live, become our legacy in the history of time. The complexities of their relationship and this time period within our nation’s history teach us that we may not always agree with our fellow countrymen, and our perspectives and ideals may differ at times, but we should not so easily cut down the trees of respect, communication, and decency.
History is often thought of as an ancient period in time; but the history that we know, that is American history, is not so ancient or long ago.
Dear Reader, did you know that your vote can be your Emancipation Proclamation, and when you exercise your right to do so, you build on the agenda of freedom and democracy?
The victories of our battles are often not achieved overnight; they often take time and many seasons to grow. The battle for freedom began long before 1863, but the liberated and liberators of old teach us that we can too be liberated and liberators. Seeds are meant to be planted, and when they are planted in soils of hope, an abundant harvest of inspiration and imagination can grow.
If ever there was to be a life, a legacy, an individual to be inspired by, we should let it be individuals and lives such as these, because the paths we choose today, whether good or bad, can become the paths and walkways for others tomorrow.
It is from this perspective and place that God has inspired me to write “From this Perspective” – and I truly pray that my words will bring you hope and perspective.
Dear Reader, continue to trust God even in the most difficult places because He will see to it that you make it to the destination of His promises. I want you to know that you are not alone, and it is my prayer that this column will make you feel as though you have a place to belong and somewhere to call home.
Share your story and prayer requests below and at SenecaHoward.com/contact, and our team will be sure to keep you lifted in our prayers.
P.S., Yours Truly,
The Writer, Seneca Howard
About Seneca Howard
Seneca Howard is a pastor, author, mentor, and motivational speaker who inspires the lives of others through crisis ministry, counsel, and personal development.