Monday, September 20, 2010

Handprints in Cement...Or Sand?

When my book, The Tender Scar: Life After The Death Of A Spouse, was published I had a friend comment on the cover: "How sweet. His and hers handprints in the sand." It wasn't long until another made a similar comment, except he said, "...in cement." Which is correct? I wasn't sure then. I believe I am now.

Cynthia and I used to enjoy trips to South Padre Island. Long walks on the sandy beach were just the time to talk, to plan, to relax and enjoy. And, since she matured but refused to actually grow up, she would sometimes stop and make a footprint or handprint in the sand. Of course, the incoming tide would erase it, but it was fun.

What child has not been tempted to use the surface of a newly poured sidewalk as a tablet and inscribe his or her initials on it? And many workmen do the same to mark their work, a lasting memorial to what they've done.

Last week Kay and I attended a golf tournament put together to raise funds for the children of her oldest son, Phil, whose life came to a tragic end this spring. We were sitting in the pavilion at dinner when I saw the pattern of a perfect leaf in the cement floor. We looked and found several others in various places. I don't know if this was a happenstance or a deliberate decoration, but I do know one thing: people will see those leaves for many years to come.

Doing some things are like footprints in the sand. They're evidence of good times, and those are admirable. But other actions are like footprints in cement: enduring evidence of something done along the way.

At the tournament we encountered dozens and dozens of people whose lives Phil had affected in a positive way. After Cynthia's death, I heard numerous stories of how she'd influenced the lives of others. These were footprints made in cement, and they'll be around for decades.

What kind of footprints are you making? I hope you're walking barefoot through the sand often enough to produce a smile. But I hope you leave some reminders in cement of the positive things you've done, as well.

8 comments:

Anne Mateer said...

Wow. Great thoughts this morning, Doc. Thank you!

Richard Mabry said...

Thanks, Anne. I must confess that was a hard post to write, but I've felt the need to pass on those thoughts to others.

Janalyn Voigt said...

What beautiful imagery! Thanks for sharing from the heart, even when it's hard.

yarnbuck said...

Thanks, Richard. I'm thankful to have a lot of meaningful prints pressed into my own foundation.

Richard Mabry said...

Your comments tell me that this resonates with most of us, once we think back to those prints: the ones we made and the imprints left on us.
Thanks to all of you who've stopped by.

Carol J. Garvin said...

I like your images of footprints in sand and cement. You'd find me barefoot most of the time, inside the house and out, but the permanence of any footprints I make is hard to determine. I was very blessed by one encounter early last year (I blogged about it: http://wp.me/phaYw-cs ) but we don't too often have the opportunity to know the impact our lives have on others.

I hope God will continue to provide ways to make my existence count for something.

Carol J. Garvin said...

I like your images of footprints in sand and cement. You'd find me barefoot most of the time, inside the house and out, but the permanence of any footprints I make is hard to determine. I was very blessed by one encounter early last year (I blogged about it: http://wp.me/phaYw-cs ) but we don't too often have the opportunity to know the impact our lives have on others.

I hope God will continue to provide ways to make my existence count for something.

Janalyn Voigt said...

What beautiful imagery! Thanks for sharing from the heart, even when it's hard.