There is a place near the seafront where I often take Jack to walk and run. It’s a beautiful place with vast fields right next to the open sea. Seagulls are flying, waves are rolling to shore. Along one side of the fields are trees of varying types, shapes and sizes. There is a maple tree that I have enjoyed in every season.
Recently I watched the presence of Autumn in its leaves, making brilliant colors of red and yellow and bronze. All too soon the leaves began to drop to the ground but that held its own beauty. Jack and I both loved walking through dry leaves, hearing them crunch beneath our feet.
Last week there were several days of rain. On a walk during one of these rainy days, I noticed a rather large maple leaf laid flat on the cemented walkway, plastered there by the rain. On every subsequent day of our visit the leaf was still there. Because it was so large I couldn’t help but notice it every time I passed.
Today as Jack and I walked along I began to look for this very familiar leaf. We neared the place where I knew it would be found; only it wasn’t there, or was it? I stood and marveled at the place where the leaf had embedded itself the cement. The leaf was indeed no longer there but its imprint was perfectly formed. That imprint will now be seen for many seasons and perhaps even years to come. When I see this imprint I will always be drawn back to the beauty of its yellow color that first caught my eye.
That’s when I began to contemplate that you and I have the same opportunity to leave an impression of the life we have lived even long after we pass from this earth. We leave imprints on other people’s lives by the way we speak or react to one another in any given situation. How we imprint can influence someone else for good or for bad. It’s like Proverbs 25:11, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”
It’s both a lovely and daunting thought that our words and actions are capable of encouraging or discouraging; of leaving a lovely memory or a nightmare in the mind of another.
May we all, with Father’s help, be careful of words and actions, that we may be lasting imprints of great beauty.