Have you ever thought about the marks you leave behind? This thought invaded my brain during our last cabin visit. As I was walking “Silent Charlie”, I noticed animal tracks that hadn’t been there the evening before. So, that got me thinking!
While I am certainly no outdoor expert, I have become somewhat good at recognizing animal tracks around our cabin. Since we have a variety of “critters” that call the woods around us home, it is good to know who’s been “hanging around”. Tracks give you a glimpse of the most recent activity.
Most of the time my discoveries happen while walking Charlie. He loves sniffing everything, so I consistently find deer, fox, and bear tracks along the side of the road on which we are walking. When the ground is soft the tracks are very defined and easily recognized. When it’s dry and the grass is lush it can be a little more difficult.
People are much the same. There are marks you leave behind on them too. These marks are found in the ground of their hearts. It matters not whether the intention is good or bad, the words we say and the things we do all leave tracks.
When hearts are soft the track can be easily seen and the impact felt deeply. When hearts have been hurt and are hardened the track is not so easily seen but the impact is still deeply felt.
Just off to the right side of our covered porch is an animal trail. This trail is well-worn, as it is used by all the critters to reach the road above. Because it is used so frequently, the trail doesn’t usually reveal individual tracks but rather a larger pattern of use. This is one of many animal trails in our surrounding area.
Trails are also marks you leave behind on people. They represent a repeated pattern of behavior and interaction. Trails are created over time and are much more difficult to erase. With trails, it’s not the specific action that’s identifiable, but the larger pattern that creates an impact.
Even in the most remote places, animal trails can be found. We took a short drive to the “Mile High” overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Robby backed the truck into a spot for a tailgate picnic with an AMAZING view. It wasn’t long before we noticed that about 30 feet away was an animal trail. Even here, in this rugged and steep terrain, an animal trail was visible.
And so it is with hearts, relationship trails, both old and new reveal a pattern of experience both felt and learned over time.
The point I’m making is that people remember how we make them feel. Whether family, friend or stranger, our interactions leave tracks and trails. For me, I want those marks to be filled with kindness, love, acceptance and encouragement. So my question to myself and you is what story will the marks you leave behind tell?