In the grand scheme of things, our existence is just a tiny blip on the timeline of history. Even one hundred years, which seems significant to us (and is more than enough time to have great, great, grandkids), is just an eye blink for the earth. But this doesn’t mean we’re insignificant. Every human being who has ever lived has had the same seemingly short existence. Of course, some live longer than others, but we’re all temporary visitors nonetheless.
I think this creates a wonderful opportunity for us to do something special. To do something that somehow says “Hey, I was here. I made a difference.” We don’t all need to be radically-minded world changers, but I do think we should all find a way to make a difference – to somehow contribute to our fellow man. Even if it’s just in the life of one person, a little contribution can go a long way.
As I was hiking recently I saw the rock structure pictured below. I thought it was the coolest thing, not because it was a free standing piece of art, but because I will never know who made it. Someone hiking the path decided to create something that other hikers would see. It made clear that someone had come before us. Someone’s hand had touched the earth in that very spot. Just by adding a human touch, one hiker made that spot a little more special than it was before. Maybe I’m weird, but I thought that was so cool!
I think we should all strive to do something similar. We’re going to leave a mark either way, no matter what we do. The people who come after us will notice our impact, our contribution, our existence. Maybe not everyone, but surely some will. It will either be through the lives we influence, which in turn will influence other lives, or though the physical stamps we make – buying a home, developing land, planting a garden, and so on. It is our responsibility to make sure that the mark we leave is a contribution, not a burden, upon those who follow. I think it is equally as important that the mark we leave is congruent with who we are. What values do you want to be known for taking a stand for? What kinds of projects do you want to be known for starting? What messages do you want to leave behind? What will be your legacy? These are some fun questions to help generate meaningful answers.
Even if we regret some of the marks we’ve left in the past, today is a new day. And tomorrow will be another! It’s never too late to make a new one. It’s never too late to add to an old one. It’s never too late to find some way to make a difference. The opportunities are endless. Just find something you care about, and leave it a little better than when you arrived! You can do it