The Mark You Leave Behind


I was trying to distract myself. I was in the dentist’s chair and trying to be somewhere else in my mind. During a lull in the action, I reached up and touched that really bright light shining into my mouth. The Dr. and assistant were busy preparing for the next step in the process and so they did not see me. It had been and impulsive act. I saw the tiny sliver of a fingerprint and wondered if an intentional fingerprint would show up. The answer is, “YES!”

My index fingerprint popped off of the glass. LIke the red stains on Lady Macbeth’s I searched around for something to wipe off the evidence. I was on my back in the chair and there was nothing in my reach. If I sat up, I would draw attention to myself. If I ran to the bathroom to get a tissue, all the subtlety of the situation would be gone. I decided I need to stay put.

They returned to my mouth. My eyes could not see anything else but the fingerprint. I told them about my mischief right away. They were in sterile mode, so no one reached up to touch the light or eradicate the image. Instead they continued working and I continued watching the image I had created.

Most of us have been living with at least some sensitivity to the question, “What if people opened my high school yearbook?” What are the marks I made on the lives of people around me? At my five and ten year high school reunion the most common response I got to my answer (I am a pastor) to the question, “What do you do?” was stunned disbelief. I sorted through some old photos wondering about people I have not see in nearly 40 years.

We all make a mark and often they are indelible. They cannot be easily washed away. The impressions we gave people, the things we said, the things we did all create the picture of our life that we put in their hands. There are no throw away days, no do overs. There is forgiveness. There is redemption. There is new creation, but it comes at the cost of the cross.

The fingerprint will be erased before the next patient sits in the chair. Our legacy is built day after day and is not easily rewritten. Leave a good mark every day.
The fingerprint