We humans sure like to make our marks on this world, don’t we?
Just recently, while traveling for my job, I noticed an unusual kind of ‘graffiti’ painted on the side of a rocky hillside.
Either Batman had recently visited there or perhaps his Bat Cave was really located inside that hillside. Or someone just painted the Batman symbol on the rocks.
Batman. Really. Who leaves Batman as his mark, unless you’re delusional enough to think you are that caped crusader, the dark knight?
I mean this place definitely is not Gotham City and I doubt if someone named Commissioner Gordon announced, “Let’s signal for Batman to come help us!” And I don’t imagine Batman’s sidekick Robin cried, “Holy side of a hill, Batman!”
No, someone climbed up that hill and made his mark, even if it is a Batman mark.
Why? Why do we feel this urge to leave our mark? Is it for attention? Is it our desire to be acknowledged? Or is it just so we won’t be forgotten?
I’m fairly familiar with this idea of marking stuff, whether it’s for attention or just to set your own boundary lines. Way back when, you know, in the olden days /when I was a kid, I liked making my own lines of demarcation.
I distinctly remember two times I made my mark and two times I got spanked for my trouble or making trouble for my mother. Once was when I traipsed up and down the freshly painted hallway from our living room to the bedrooms with a black crayon marking my progress. The other offense was coloring a few spots of our green living room carpet red – with my mother’s lipstick.
Why? I have no idea. I always had this longing to be famous, to make my mark, so to speak, but coloring items in our household sure wasn’t the way to gain fame.
My children also demonstrated moments of marking their territories and some items of our furniture still tell the tale. Oldest daughter’s marking instrument was the pen. As a toddler, she made her marks on wallpaper in the front door entryway and also on a dining room chair seat cushion – all in permanent ink.
When she was in 4th grade, she also laid claim to her bedroom walk-in closet prior to our moving to a different state. “This bedroom belongs to [Oldest Daughter] and it always will!” was the message she left on the wall in said closet – also written in pen – for the next occupant to find.
Middle daughter and son liked etching their names into wooden furniture with sharp objects and you can still see their handiwork in a secretary desk and the kitchen table.
Maybe it just runs in our family. While going through some old books and other memorabilia in our basement, I noticed that my husband, as a child, scribbled his name all over them.
We have to make our mark. One way or another.
The question is what kind of mark are we going to make in this world? How do we want to be remembered? Just by a symbol painted on a wall, a building, a rock? Or by leaving our name written in a permanent fashion on an item, hoping someday someone will find it and remember who we were?
I think it would be a better choice to leave our ‘mark’ by the way we treat others, through our actions and words. Through kindness and love, patience and goodness, joy and peace, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
To me, those are the ‘marks’ of a life well-lived and a life well-remembered, a life that marks today as the best day of the year because it is another day of life, another opportunity to make a difference in this world.
Tune in again this week – same bat time, same bat channel – because I have more thoughts tumbling around in my mind about leaving our marks.
“Life is short, so live it well, cherish every moment, love your family & friends, leave your mark on the earth.” ~ Unknown