Sunday, October 12, 2008

Fingerprints

I was looking at my walls this morning. It’s nearing that time when I should think about painting them. They have all the nicks and rubs that come with living in a home. They even have a collection of grubby little fingerprints in certain places (I did tell you that I have grandchildren). As I was trying to wash off some of the more obvious marks, I started thinking that, like walls of a lived-in home, our hearts accumulate various rubs, nicks, and fingerprints as we go about living our lives. (OK, I never said I was a profound thinker, just that I think.)

Living isn’t easy. We do the best we can to find our path through the challenging thickets that surround us. But sometimes, we take paths we shouldn’t have taken, and generally make a nuisance of ourselves. That doesn’t mean we’re bad people, it just means that we’re human. As we travel the pathways of our lives, some of the paths we take leave nicks and rubs on our hearts. Like the nicks and rubs on painted walls, some of these marks detract from the beauty that we carry inside of us. A wall desperately in need of painting does absolutely nothing to help create a comfortable home. On the other hand, sometimes the nicks and rubs add character and depth to our hearts. Someone who has never experienced challenges has never really lived. Just like a pristine, stainless steel and white modern décor will never, in my opinion, make a comfortable home; someone who’s heart doesn’t have a nick or two from facing the challenges that life throws at them, will never be really interesting. They have no depth.

But I have to say that it’s the fingerprints on our hearts that create the most depth. It is the people in our lives who leave those (often grubby) fingerprints on our hearts. There are fingerprints from everyone who has touched our hearts in some way. Whether it’s the warm touch of a loved-one; the reassuring touch of a parent; or the unconditionally loving touch of a child or grandchild, anyone who has touched our heart has left their fingerprints.

While we may need to repair, as best we can, the nicks and rubs on our hearts, we will never be able to fully wash off the fingerprints, even if we wanted to. Those fingerprints document a well-lived life; with all its mistakes and its joys. They document the people who matter to us. They document those that walked with us down the paths of life and helped us meet the challenges on those paths.

I know that the grubby little fingerprints on various parts of my walls detract from the appearance of my home, and I’ll wash them off (in interests of cleanliness….my kids did call me the “cleaning Nazi” after all). But I know that they were there because my grandkids felt comfortable in my home; to be kids and to play as kids will. So I’ll wash the walls and thank the Lord for the opportunity to do so. I’ll also thank the Lord for the fingerprints on my heart; from family, friends, and sometimes from strangers. I’ll thank Him for all the fingerprints from those people who have, somehow, somewhere, somewhen, touched my heart and helped me down the paths of my life.

5 comments:

Grama36 said...

Who said you were not a profound thinker?? this post is one that needed a box of kleenex for me...

You touched my heart this day..
Thank you

Ky Woman said...

Lela,

You hit the nail right on the head with this one.

It's been my experience that sometimes those nicks and rubs were gashes and gouges. Even though my heart healed, that person will always be a part of it...

Hugs and smiles!

Anonymous said...

I don't believe we have seen this side of you before. It is interesting to read this a few times and try and think which of the people you mention left the prints that have impacted your life the most. I'm sure you are thankful of each of these mars, prints or nics in some manner, I hope that you continue to experience each of these touches of the heart and take each one in the manner in which it was given.

Anonymous said...

If we are lucky, someone comes into our life and leaves something larger than a fingerprint, they leave a palm print on our hearts. I smile when I think that you have left such a palm print on my life because I know it was placed there w/ love and affection. It has also been a guiding hand in my life, pointing in a safe direction when the storms of my life were attempting to ship wreck me and all those around me. So I too thank the good Lord for having someone in my life that has expended the considerable enegy necessary to place that palm print on my heart where it remains today and where it will always be.

Aunty2 said...

Fingerprints are unique to each individual, so are the "fingerprints they leave on our hearts" as you so poetically stated. Each person who touches our lives leaves a mark, good or bad. Thank you for all the wonderful marks you left on mine! (I am still sorry for the steak knife....you know what I mean!) Love you sis.