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The Power of One's Existence
Please endure my ramblings and even perhaps share the lives of those who left a powerful or positive footprint for you.
What is the evidence we leave behind? I'm not talking about our environmental footprints, that's a whole other "can of worms." What remains of each individual that gives proof to their existence. Is it something that remains in our heart or mind that causes happiness or causes unhappiness? Many monuments have been dedicated to lives that have had an impact on humanity. Sometimes the monument is not visible to all humanity and only lives within us. The thing that lives beyond us, these are the monuments not made of brick and mortar but a spirit that gives encouragement and hope to communities, nations, or the world . We all have an impact on some one's life whether it's visible to all, tucked away in a memory, or seen in the encouragement of sufferers, victims or those who believe in a cause.
Sometimes the evidence of a life causes pain and suffering. Because, I don't want to end focusing on an unhappy memory I'm going to point to evidence of a life that left families, friends and communities shattered. Richard Speck torurted and killed one of my high school classmates in Chicago on July 14, 1966. My first evidence of an evil that existed which impacted my life on a very personal level. He was not the first, nor is he the last proof of a life that can devastate us emotionally and physically. We have all been touched by lives that have left devastation as their legacy. Insanity, religious beliefs, self-gratification, abuse, the reasons cannot dissolve the negative impact of a life that leaves others devastated. It is not only individuals lives that impact us. Corporations, governments, and religions can leave devastation in their wake as well. The point is to acknowledge that other's choices have an impact on us and society that makes us feel sadness and shame.
Longer lived (and righteously so) are the footprints of lives that had or have evidence of a life lived with significance. These can be seen in the brick and mortar tributes, memories, group/community/world events, and testimonies to these people. The list is long and impressive. The problem in making a list is that it is never complete and there are names that are not included. Sometimes a picture speaks volumes. Look and see.
Evidence of a life many times impacts communities, nations and the world. A list that is impressive and distinguished (not in any particular order and certainly incomplete): Mahatma Ghandi, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, Albert Schweitzer, Louis Pasteur, Oskar Schindler, Billy Graham, Diana Princess of Wales, Helen Keller, Per Anger and Eleanor Roosevelt.
Many of us are influenced by persons not recognized by communities, nations or the world but mean the world to us and left a footprint on our life (again an incomplete list): mothers, fathers, siblings, foster parents, friends, teachers, clergy, spouses, children, and even strangers. Often it is the stranger that put their lives on hold or in danger for the greater good: police, fire fighters, soldiers.
We pay tribute to those who have the greatest influence for the greater good by: building monuments; recognizing national/state holidays in their names; organizing charities in their honor; honoring them with keys to the city, plaques and medallions. But, not all who deserve these honors are given the acknowledgment they deserve. Hug and/or kiss those we love, send a special note of thanks to those we don't know intimately, give a special pat on the back or extend a hand for a warm handshake or just a friendly facial expression something as simple as eye contact and a smile. Or, just mourn with those who mourn.
Leave evidence of a thankful and grateful life, it could mean the world to someone.