I think the desire to leave your mark on the world is deeply carved into the human DNA. How many bathroom stalls have you been in where some adolescent has NOT carved his name into the wall? “John was here” or “Jane was here,” depending on which room you find yourself in. I think that this is one reason why social media is so popular. People are projecting into the void, “I am here!” And I believe that at the core of every mid-life crisis is the doubt that you are NOT leaving your mark on the world- the fear that you are failing in your most human task. When I am gone, will anyone know that I was here? Will it matter that I WAS here?
There is a song by Coldplay that I really like. It’s called “MyloXyloto”. I don’t really know what that means, as a matter of fact, I don’t know what most of the song means but I like it. For example, the chorus says, “You use your heart as a weapon, and it hurts like heaven.” Well, I can’t really comprehend that, but the beat is bouncy and makes me want to dance with wild abandon. And there are other lyrics that catch me and cut me deeply. I like this song.
When the lead singer croons, “Do you ever get the feeling that you’re missing the mark? So close, so close” I get that. And then he leans into the rhythm, “On the concrete canvas I’ll be coming apart, on the concrete canvas I’ll go making my mark, Oooh with a spray can soul, with a spray can soul.” Yes, I know this feeling. Even though this does not make me want to take up graffiti art, I really do understand the basic need expressed here. “I was here!” the artist is telling the world.
I evaluate my life often to be certain that I am leaving the mark that I want to leave. The interpretation of that mark is out of my control, but where and what kind of mark I leave is entirely within my control. I will not leave my mark on a wall (unless someone hangs up one of my paintings), but I try to leave my mark on your heart.
It is indeed possible to leave your mark on a human canvas. My daughter came home from school the other day with her hands and arms graffitied by a friend with a yellow glow-in-the-dark marker. Sophia left her mark on Emma. Sophia was here.
Then I think about what God says about leaving marks on people. He’s not opposed to it. He says, I will carve your name on my hands and you will be mine. If I am carved on God’s hands, then I know he will never, ever forget me. This world may forget me if I fail to make an indelible mark on it, but God can never forget me. My name is tattooed on his hands. April IS here.
Photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/chriszerbes/7976579366/”>chris zerbes</a> / <a href=”http://foter.com/People/”>Foter.com</a> / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>CC BY-NC-ND</a>