I have had occasion to read a wonderful work titled Robert E. Lee on Leadership by H. W. Crocker III. Prior to this, I had not had occasion to study the man, though the American Civil War has always been a favorite field of study. You see, in a visit to the Petersburg Battlefield Park, I became haunted by Lee’s eyes–you may see the picture I saw below. His eyes exuded nobility, gentleness, and elfin cheer. They seemed to encourage me to be of good cheer–that happiness is around the corner if only I do not give up and continue to seek virtue. So, I picked up this work to have my desire to learn about Lee further inflamed. I am now inspired to read Emory Thomas’s biography of the man and even to eventually tackle Douglas Southall Freeman’s four volume work. Why? Because one can perceive Jesus Christ in the man’s virtues and kindness towards all.
The true driving force behind every man’s striving is to find a person: Jesus Christ. He is a person so wonderful that we wish to emulate Him as far as possible, to love Him with our whole heart, and obey His commandments and wishes as much as possible so that we might always remain with Him. This is evident in our struggles after virtue–which Jesus has in infinity, our desire to be loved for being truly lovable, and in how we seek the company of good friends or even people who do not know Christ. As Christ wished people to know His Father and His Mission, we wish for people to know Christ and that the Father sent Him to save the world. People are good in the proportion that they imitate Christ, and it is in the imitation and beholding of Him that our happiness lies.
Why do people feel lost? Because they cannot behold or feel Him whom they really desire. They see sins and defects in themselves and become disconnected with other people. Then, they turn to every pleasure they can imagine in the belief that these things will satisfy them. Yet, pursuing pleasure rather than virtue has the opposite effect: they feel more and more withdrawn from Christ and true Happiness. The only and chiefest pleasure which brings one closer to Christ is possession of a good conscience. Yet, in this feeling of being lost and deserted by God, God never leaves us nor seeks drawing us to Him.
Let us then put our trust in God, love Him, worship Him, emulate His virtues, and delight to see flashes of the divine in our fellow men. Then, one day, we shall no longer see through a glass darkly and behold Christ Himself before us.