The Marks We Leave Behind

There’s an old saloon in Rapid City, South Dakota that features the spur marks of cowboys long gone on its staircases and floors. The roweled spur scratches and holes, left almost 138 years prior, have remained even as everything else about that era disappeared – the Old West towns, the jails and saloons and even the cowboy way of life.

I was reminded of that place, this past Sunday when I noticed the tiny marks from ladies’ high heels in the floors of St. Thomas Episcopal Church. I thought of the ladies who had stood and knelt there in front of my church pew in years gone by. Some of those marks could be as old as the ones as that saloon back in Rapid City - the same and yet, so different. Those old cowboys of South Dakota and those little church ladies of Greenville, Alabama could have never known that the marks they left behind would still be around for us to see today.

But everything we do leaves a mark in some way. The words we say, the kindness we show or withhold, our good and bad deeds, they all leave a mark for the future. And the greatest of all these is love. The love we show each other is the biggest part of us that lives on. When we love one another, especially when that isn’t easy, we bring the ultimate healing into being. This is the healing, I believe, God calls upon all of us to practice. This is the love that brings real joy and happiness and health, and it requires no training to administer.

Yes, so much can change over time. Our names and faces may be forgotten. But the love we give will always be the thing that leaves the greatest mark.

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