Monday, September 13, 2010

Leaving a Mark

Growing up, we were always told not to color on the walls. That didn’t stop some of us (*AHEM* BEN) from marking up our parents’ bedroom wall with bright red lipstick. A lot of paints won’t cover up lipstick, it being oil based and all.

However, there was one room in our house where we were allowed to mark on the walls. The utility closet/laundry room, affectionately tagged the “dryer room”, because the dryer was the only appliance that would fit in there (I called my laundry room the dryer room a few weeks ago, and got a strange look from a friend). We used pencils, pens, markers, whatever. We didn’t write anything important- it was more the principle of it. We wrote on the wall simply because we could. We wrote things like “I love John”, or “Schoolwork sucks”, or “Adam is a dork!” We also used the doorjamb to measure ourselves- needless to say, the whole thing was covered with lines and writing in all different colors. Turns out, 6 kids take up just as much room on a measuring wall as they do in an actual house. I’m sure all that writing is still there, in that dryer room, waiting to be read again.

My point is, we all want to leave a mark. We want to be remembered. But there are so many different kinds of marks we can make. I’ve got a lot of marks on me, left from family, friends, strangers, people I trusted- and people who let me down. Scars.

A few years ago at Ashton’s birthday party, I was using a brand new Pampered Chef apple slicer to cut some apples for the kids. I looked away for a split second- and sliced the whole outside corner of the pad of my thumb off. I didn’t think I’d ever get it to stop bleeding. Everything I put on there to make it stop, stuck to blood, skin, and tissues (gross, I know), so when I tried to pull the paper towel, bandage, band-aid, whatever, it would rip it right back open. I thought I would pass out. That cut is healed now- but there’s a huge scar left from it. It has no feeling left in it. I rub it with my index finger all the time. My finger can feel the scar, but the scar can’t feel my finger. There’s a numb kind of tingling there, but it’s mostly just an ugly memorial to the time I almost sliced my thumb off.

That’s kind of what these scars are like. They bled like hell for a while, but the bleeding stopped. Now there’s a callous there, a numb tingling: a knowledge, a memory that I was hurt badly once, and survived. But the scars will always be there. I can hide them, ignore them, but I still know they’re there.

There are other marks people have left on me, though. Good ones. I think of those ones as fingerprints- more of a molding, a gentle guiding, helping me to get to be the person I am today. The thing about fingerprints- they’re distinctive. I can look at myself, look at the fingerprints left on my character, and I can pinpoint who they came from. Men and women, family and friends, sometimes even strangers, who have changed my life for the better, changed my perspective, changed my image of myself.

I pray to God that I’ve left more fingerprints on people than I have scars. I know I’ve done my share of scarring. I regret it. I know I can never completely avoid leaving scars, no matter how hard I try, because I’m human. And people will have to forgive me, just as I’ve had to forgive them. But I do hope that I can make it a point to be a fingerprint kind of person.


  1. Baby, That was AWESOME!!!! I Love you so much! And I feel you on this one. That is a good way to view life, and I think I will try to look at it that way from now on : )