Killing Lincoln Leaves A House Revered: A House Reviled

Lincoln newspaper

TheDiscipleMD

My memory of visiting the William Peterson home is sketchy but the impression still lingers. I was just a young man when I walked up the narrow staircase that led to the “room.”   The “room” was a small bedroom at the top of the stairs. A glass-encased pillow was lying on the small bed. I could see bloodstains on it. It was the blood of a once dying President. Shot and bleeding he struggled through the night for life only to lose it the next morning at 7:22 am, April 15, 1865. Most consider Abraham Lincoln, next to George Washington, as the greatest of our Presidents. William Peterson was a German tailor whose house sat across the street from Ford’s Theater where Lincoln had been shot. His home now stands as a historical museum, protected by the National Park Service. I’m sure that when Mr. Peterson built it in 1849, he never imagined that his home would become a monument. I’m guessing that he never knew it would become a “revered” place that would be visited by hundreds of thousands.

A few years ago I ventured down the road to another house. It is within one mile of my office. It is called “Tudor Hall”. Two years before Mr. Peterson built his home in Washington D.C., an accomplished actor Junius Brutus Booth built Tudor Hall in Bel Air, Maryland. It was there in Tudor Hall, that a son of Mr. Booths was raised, John Wilkes. We all know him as the assassin who took the life of Mr. Lincoln. Tudor Hall is a quaint looking place, now owned by the county, which sits on eight acres. It has a pond and as I drove up I had to stop, a couple of times, for a few geese that wandered onto the roadway. It is a simple looking one and a half story painted brick home. From its porch you can see modern homes that have sprung up on all sides. I’m sure Mr. Junius Booth, like Mr. Peterson, also didn’t know that his handiwork would survive the years. As is often the case, most times we never know what, if anything, we will leave behind that will become of  “value,” good or bad.

Most of us will not be involved in such infamous events that our lives will be dissected and written about. Although…. who knows! But, perhaps we should live our lives such that if it were to be examined by others, we would be proud of the houses that we have left behind. Several years ago the country duo of Brooks and Dunn penned the chorus to one of their songs called “Proud of the House We Built.”

“I’m proud of the house we built. It’s stronger than sticks, stones, and steel.It’s not a big place sittin’ up high on some hill.A lot of things will come and go but love never will.Oh, I’m proud.I’m proud of the house we built.”

While most of us will never have our homes on the national registry, our lives will be on the ancestral registry. Building a “house” that we can be proud of can also be a metaphor for the type of homes that we create for our posterity. If we construct our lives such that they encompass the attributes and characteristics of Jesus Christ, they will be homes of love and kindness. They will be homes that will pass down to future generations as homes to be revered! As we construct our homes, let us remember to build them so that they will endure and stand as  “monuments” to Jesus Christ. I am in hopes that we will leave, as did Mr. Peterson, a house that will be revered, and not one of infamy, such as Tudor Hall.

 

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