“Leave your mark”, what does this sentence even mean?
When we think of changing the world, our minds take us to significant events and famous people. You know Mother Theresa, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln, Florence Nightingale, Helen Keller, etc.
Such persons left their mark for posterity. Most assuredly, is there hope for the likes of us?
The good news is that leaving your mark doesn’t need to be so grandiose.
The Great Human Questions
I believe that there are two questions common to almost all human beings:
The thought that our existence is purposeless is disappointing and depressing. Human beings — without a sense of meaning — despair. Some take their lives believing they are worthless or — worse — that the world is a better place without them.
It is indeed distressing to think we are born and then we die only to be forgotten having achieved nothing of vast importance. Life is therefore reduced to being born and to die and in the in-between to pay taxes.
Indeed, such views are disheartening. They render human existence pointless, meaningless, and hopeless.
In the state between sleep and wakefulness, I sometimes have bizarre thoughts — although, in truth, a semi-conscious state is not the only time unusual ideas plague me. But, I digress.
One such morning, I realized that our lives are never meaningless even if our name is unknown to most and our daily activities are forever humdrum. Even in the midst of a mundane existence, you matter.
Have you ever stopped to think about the many lives you have touched even just for one instant?
Millions could be affected by your being here.
Allow me to expound on this thought.
First, before you were born and drew breath, you made your presence known, and that presence touched many lives: your parents, your grandparents, siblings, cousins, neighbors, doctor, nurse or midwife. The list goes on. In turn, as a pebble dropped in water causes ripples, each life you affected further rippled to touch more lives.
Since your birth and during your childhood, your presence affected many other: teachers, friends, and so the long list goes on.
And as an adult, your life continues to affect many. In this “grown-up” category, there are obvious persons: spouse, children, co-workers, etc. However, there are also the less obvious persons whom you have touched with your life: the clerk at the grocery store whom you thanked by name, the child in another country who benefitted from your donation, the animal shelter where you volunteer, the elderly neighbor you drove to his appointment, your child’s friend who confided in you during her parents’ divorce, the person in the seat next to yours in the airplane with whom you struck up a friendly conversation.
This list is limitless.
It’s a Wonderful Life
I think I am in the minority when I say I do not like the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life.” I find it dark especially at the beginning. Nevertheless, despite my personal preference, this movie illustrates my point perfectly, had you never been born, the world would be a thoroughly different place.
At the moment your life began, the world was changed.
Whether you like it or not, you leave your mark whether for good or for ill.
We would like to think the world would be a better place had the likes of Ghengis Khan, Hitler, and Stalin never been born. It is indeed hard to find the good in the lives of such beings who caused much pain and destruction.
The thing is, they did exist, and they did leave their mark, This fact is alterable no matter how we wish it to be different.
Even in such darkness, there are lessons to be learned. These human beings are examples of whom not to become.
Then, there are those individuals who left their name behind for their altruism.
Who can aspire to be a Mother Theresa or the hero who ran into a burning building to save an entire family?
Is there no hope for the rest of us?
Most of us are unknown and average, so how can we leave our mark?
You see, this is the beauty of being your authentic self. There is — and there will ever be — only one you. You may not be called to be famous nor to perform some fantastic and heroic fares. However, you are invited to be you and as you live the life before you — in whatever capacity — to leave your mark. You get to chose how you make those imprints, either for good or for ill.
The choice is yours.
In forensic science, the Locard’s exchange principle holds that the perpetrator of a crime will bring something into the crime scene as well as leave something behind, which can be used as forensic evidence.
This principle is valid for all of us every day.
Every place you enter, every person with whom you interact is forever changed. Take yourself out of the equation and the world is no longer the same.
Most of us are “common” people who will remain unknown but who hold no less vital importance than some more well known human beings. Famous and meaningful are not synonymous as the tabloids so readily showcase.
You exist, therefore your essence has already transformed this world.
Therefore, knowing you exist not in vain, live your best life without apologies.
The real choice before you is how will you live this life.
To think — because you are a “simple” mechanic or “just” a housewife — your life is not as influential as a Martin Luther King Jr. or a Rosa Parks is a lie. You may not be asked to be famous nor to perform some supremely courageous task, and that is okay.
It is what it is.
You are nonetheless asked to be the best you you can be in your corner of the world.
You are enough for the task before you, and your mission — should you choose to accept it — is essential even if it is on some small unknown island in the middle of some vast ocean.
You are the pebble — which by your very essence — causes ripples across humanity.
For parents, there are children never born who still changed their lives. I have a daughter who only lived one month after birth. She changed my life forever as well as many others’ lives.
Your value is not in what you do but in who you are.
When you act from the core of your essence, from a deep place of love, you change your corner of the world for the better. Trying to be someone else or whining about where you are are is a waste of breath and a waste of you.
Serenity is found in knowing you have a mission even if said role never seems quite clear nor important.
We aren’t supposed to find all the answers — nor to know them — to be happy, fulfilled, and — dare I say — magic? Each day with love and thanksgiving do your best to make the world a better place. Be kind. Love much. Be you and love you.
It is those who hate themselves and others who spread darkness.
Leave Your Mark
You are indeed here to shine and to leave your mark.
Seize your life by the proverbial horn and live entirely and thoroughly as you with the absolute assurance that you DO matter in ways you may never know.
Trying to figure out the whys and the what ifs of your being here, not only will drive you batty but additionally, it will rob you of the now. So live entirely with trust and authenticity to your true nature leaving the rest to Providence.
Live as a small child. There are genuine, true to themselves, without worry or care, full of trust and faith, and confident they matter.
You too matter.
This blog exists because you and I exist and because you are here reading my post. Maybe a small thing for you, nevertheless, quite meaningful to me. Thank you for being you and for being here now.
Like a falling star in a dark nightly sky, go leave your mark — for good.