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leeIn his book, “Lee: The Last Years,” Charles Bracelen Flood reports that after the Civil War, Robert E. Lee visited a Kentucky lady who took him to the remains of a grand old tree in front of her house. There she bitterly cried that its limbs and trunk had been destroyed by Federal artillery fire. She looked to Lee for a word condemning the North or at least sympathizing with her loss. After a brief silence, Lee said, "Cut it down, my dear Madam, and forget it."

 

What did the woman want Lee to do about it, anyway? His perspective was quite a bit different than hers. He had lost a bloody war; she had lost a tree. Perhaps his silence was due to his struggling to maintain control of himself. His answer to her reminds us that at times it is far better to forgive whatever injustices there may be than to allow bitterness to control or even destroy us. And some things just aren't that important anyway. They may be very important to us, certainly. But in the grand scheme of things, aren't there a few things which deserve our energy more?

Rocky Henriques