Lincoln is my all-time favorite president. If you are a fan of Lincoln's you are probably well aware of the dream he had shortly before his assassination. Probably most are so familiar with this interesting tidbit of Lincoln trivia it doesn't bear repeating in detail here. I will just say that shortly before he was killed President Lincoln dreamed he was asleep and heard wailing and weeping of sorrow coming from downstairs in the White House. In his dream he got out of bed went looking for the source of the distress. From room to room he wandered but saw no one, although he still heard the crying. Finally he reached the East Room, where he found a corpse in funeral vestments lying upon a black catafalque. The corpse was being guarded by soldiers among the crowd of grievers. Mr. Lincoln asked one of the soldiers. "Who is dead in the White House?" The now familiar answer came: "The president; he was killed by an assassin." At that moment in the dream there came a loud outburst of grief that woke the slumbering president.
Now I had read about this many times. In fact, I have seen the dream reenacted in documentaries and movies about Lincoln. I always thought it would have been prudent had the president taken heed of that dream; that he should have increased his guards; that he should have lain low for a while. We can only imagine what a second Lincoln term would have been like.
What I found out only recently is that apparently Lincoln came to dismiss that dream as a possible premonition, although he was at first quite troubled and depressed by it. Close personal friend and sometimes bodyguard Ward Hill Lamon wrote a book of his memories of Lincoln (Recollections Of Lincoln), from which I take the following:
Once the President alluded to this terrible dream with some show of playful humor. "Hill," said he, "your apprehension of harm to me from some hidden enemy is downright foolishness. For a long time you have been trying to keep somebody—the Lord knows who—from killing me. Don't you see how it will turn out? In this dream it was not me, but some other fellow, that was killed. It seems that this ghostly assassin tried his hand on someone else. And this reminds me of an old farmer in Illinois whose family were made sick by eating greens. Some poisonous herb had got into the mess, and members of the family were in danger of dying. There was a half-witted boy in the family called Jake; and always afterward when they had greens the old man would say, 'Now, afore we risk these greens, let's try 'em on Jake. If he stands 'em, we're all right.' Just so with me. As long as this imaginary assassin continues to exercise himself on others I can stand it." He then became serious and said: "Well, let it go. I think the Lord in His own good time and way will work this out all right. God knows what is best."
From what I understand about Lincoln, he was a bit of a fatalist. He doesn't appear to have been the type of man who would have rearranged his life around a dream that might have been a premonition.
I have to say that I have listened to my dreams in the past, and feel ever stronger the need to do so now. I don't know exactly why I've gotten back in touch with my dreaming mind. I was away for a long time - or rather, I should say, I was dismissive. But I think I was doing myself a bit of a disservice. My instincts have always been good. The only real regrets I have had in life center on times when I went against my gut instincts.