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Home > June 2009 > "Starting Over At Age 58 (Part 2)"

"Starting Over At Age 58 (Part 2)"
By Dr. Jeff Sanders

So, on April 9, 1865, at the age of 58, Robert E. Lee was defeated, unemployed, homeless, penniless, depressed, and in ill health.  His wife and daughters were refugees.  What to do?  Lee actually wanted to find "a little farm where I can procur my daily bread."  This man had built a military career spanning decades.  It was all he knew how to do.  Now, he thought he would try his hand at farming.  But he never found that farm he was looking for.  Somebody had other plans for him.

People from around the country offered him jobs.  One insurance company offered him a large sum of money if only he would let them use his name to advertise the insurance policies.  Lee responded, "My name is the heritage of my parents.  It is all that I have, and it is not for sale."  It never occurred to Lee to look to the government for free money, or to take care of his family.  He went to work looking for work in a war-ravaged, destitute land.  Finally, a little college in Lexington, Virginia--Washington College--offered him the job of being their President.  Lee had once been Superintendent of West Point (a job he really didn't like), but he thought it would be a great new start to educate young people and to use that as a platform of ministry to reconcile the wounded nation.

Lee labored as President of Washington College for the next five years until he died on October 12, 1870.  No one in the North or South worked harder or better to model reconciliation among the sections or races of the country than Lee.  Two great books you would probably really enjoy reading are:  Lee--The Last Years" by Charles Bracelen Flood, and "Reading the Man--A Portrait of Robert E. Lee Through His Private Letters" by Elizabeth Brown Pryor.  Great books, true story--there is hope for people after every thing has been taken away, after every dream has been crushed.  Lee's life proved it.  Lee overcame unbelievable challenges at age 58.  You can overcome too. 

Saturday, June 13, 2009, 09:20 PM

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