That Batman symbol I spied the other day really made its mark on me.
No, I didn’t run out and buy Sharpie markers and start making symbols and shapes all over my surroundings.
But I am still thinking about this issue and why we humans have this innate desire to make a mark on our world.
For some, making a mark means achieving special recognition, making certain other people notice you. Others might define making a mark as having an important effect on someone or something. Some might say making your mark means you are very successful or famous.
One of the first things we learn to do when we pick up a pencil or pen as a child is write our own name, thereby making our marks. And then we want to write it everywhere! On paper. In books. On our toys. Or in the case of my children, on furniture and walls.
It must be our way of announcing to the world, “Hey, I’m here. I exist. I am!”
When I was a kid, I remember writing my name even when I was outside – with chalk on a sidewalk, in the mud, in the snow, in the sand at the beach….everywhere.
Today there are even more avenues in which to inscribe your name. Go online and visit websites where you can learn how to write your name in different languages and you can even write your name in the stars.
I wonder why we have this profound need to make our presence known by leaving our mark?
I remember my folks occasionally using the phrase “Kilroy was here.” That remark referred to a drawing and accompanying signature made popular during World War II.
Kilroy’s origin is believed to have come from American GIs who would leave the doodle and words, “Kilroy was here,” wherever they went. Regardless of where the doodle came from, someone, named Kilroy or not, began this fad and obviously left his visible mark to tell the world he existed and that he passed by that way once.
Do we make our marks because it’s our way of making certain that we won’t be forgotten? What is it about wet cement that makes us want to leave our footprint, hand print, or just our name and date in it for posterity? Why is it such a big deal for celebrities to get their names chosen for inclusion on the Walk of Fame on Hollywood Boulevard?
Because we all want to be remembered. We don’t want our names or our lives to be forgotten. We desire to leave something of us behind – a kind of legacy, if you will.
“Grandma says if you want to leave footprints in the sands of time, you should wear work boots.” ~ attributed to cartoonist Bil Keane
There’s quite a bit of truth in that quote. If you want to make your mark, if you don’t want to be forgotten, if you want your name remembered, I believe you have a lot of hard work to accomplish. Not just to be remembered but to leave a lasting legacy.
It’s easy to make your name known. Just look at how celebrities accomplish that. But more often than not, it’s notoriety they achieve, not necessarily a lasting legacy.
I think we leave a lasting legacy when we understand what our life’s purpose is. Isn’t that what we’re really striving for when we want to make our mark? We need a reason why we were placed here on earth. We want to know that our lives mattered, that they made a difference.
When all is said and done, most of us want reassurance that we didn’t just pass through our time on earth in a quiet fashion, unnoticed and unmemorable. We have this desire to leave proof that we were here and that our lives mattered somehow. But sadly, for many of us, the only mark we may leave is our name engraved on a tombstone.
“God has a purpose for my life. No other person can take my place. It isn’t a big place to be sure, but for years I have been molded in a peculiar way to fill a peculiar niche in the world’s work.” ~ Charles Stelzle
I think we’re born with this urge to find our place in the world and I think God instills that desire in us. Christian musician Michael W. Smith sang about that in his song, “My Place in this World.”
Like Smith, I find my place through my faith. Faith in something – Some One – bigger and more important than myself. I find purpose in acknowledging my need for a Savior and I make my mark by living for Him.
That’s who I am. I am a daughter, wife, mother, sister, aunt, cousin, and friend, but more importantly, I am a child of God, a believer in Jesus Christ.
By the world’s standards, I may not seem like much. I’m not famous, I’m not a celebrity. I haven’t done anything particularly newsworthy. I haven’t seen my name written in lights or even in the stars. But I am a child of God. That is my place in this world.
Choosing to share His saving grace with others, living life with a more Christ-like attitude, and encouraging others to seek Him is the legacy I hope to pass on to my children and their children as well. That is how I want to leave my mark on the monument of my life.
How about you? What kind of mark are you leaving on your monument?
“Live for something. Do good and leave behind you a monument of virtue that the storm of time can never destroy. Write your name in kindness, love, and mercy on hearts of thousands you come in contact with year but year; you will never be forgotten.” ~ Thomas Chalmers