Because the art of writing intimately is lost, I’d like to take a moment to share with you some inspiration from the 40th President of the United States.
I’ve been reading The Reagan Diaries, a fascinating daily account of thoughts from The Gipper during his eight years in office. The only modern day President to keep a nearly everyday account of his life as the most powerful leader in the world is both mesmerizing and sometimes emotional.
Not too many of us write diaries anymore. Not too many of us write anymore. Imagine waking up in the Oval Office. That thought alone is daunting. You have the weight of the world on your shoulders, and yet the frame of mind to take a moment of each day to share your personal observations.
I’m guessing that keeping a diary is quite a private experience. You don’t know who will read your passage, or when.
But good diary keeping isn’t about the outcome; rather it’s about the act.
Agree with his politics or not; President Reagan wrote his thoughts down and they are worth reading. Like the entry marked as Monday, March 30, 1981. It was the day the President was shot in the right lung. The following two weeks were the only time when he did not keep a journal entry.
The entry says a lot about the man who nearly lost his life. He details the fact that he changed his wristwatch from a “really good” one to an “older one.” The President comments that his speech to the AFL-CIO was “not riotously received.” And then he describes the crime scene.
He felt an unbelievably painful feeling in his upper back believing that he had broken a rib. In the fast and confusing moments of the assassination attempt, it is a moment or two before the President realizes that he was wounded by gunfire.
“I began coughing up blood,” writes the President. “I was having great trouble getting enough air.” The 70-year old Commander-in-Chief was less than two months into his term in office when he wrote that “getting shot hurts.”
There are many other captivating moments in The Reagan Diaries, a collection of reflections by the oldest American President who presided over a very consequential time in the history of our country. It’s a testament to a person who through the most important and challenging ups and downs one can experience; there is still time for self-reflection and sharing.
“Whatever happens now I owe my life to God and will try to serve him in every way I can,” concluded the President on his first post-shooting entry.
It’s a perspective we can all appreciate and share.
Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com on December 14, 2016.