The painters removed the lattice work and tossed it on the trash heap at the curb. This afternoon, the tired walls of my condo would receive a fresh coat of paint. What remained, however, almost like a shadow, was the detailed outline of what had been in place for so long. The sun had faded the exterior paint but not the part covered by the garden trellis and climbing vines that held it in place.
It was an imprint, an exact copy of what was. And it was actually kind of pretty. I knew the life of this particular visual was only temporary but it got me thinking about imprints. Whether a shadow on a wall, a scar on delicate skin, dimples in a carpet or scratches on an antique table, the imprint is real. It makes its mark. It changes things if only for a minute or two. Yet the change could be lasting, a kind of legacy.
I thought about the moments that have imprinted my life over the years like the first time I saw a Shakespearean play in London, a modern performance of Coriolanus. I can still feel the heat as motorcycles roared onto the stage from behind the curtain. I can still see long haired, rough looking actors in leather jackets and heavy boots as they emerge from the smoke and fog. I can still hear the thunderous applause and enthusiastic cheers from the audience. And I can still taste the seed planted in my being that night, a seed that would grow into a deep, insatiable love of both theatre and words.
I thought about the people who have imprinted my life like the teacher who recognized my love of writing, challenged me to hone my skills and then trusted me to develop a creative writing magazine. Or years later, my own student who said I had made such a difference in her life that she would aspire to be “somebody’s somebody” as I had been hers.
I thought about the places that left an imprint on my heart. Africa. The wide open plains seen from the window of a crowded airplane, seamless borders, no evidence of civilization, just pristine land, golden. And the village clinic in the bush, a sad place frozen in time. The smell of sickness, primitive equipment, dusty floors and desperate eyes. Or the shady grove that served as covering for a newly planted church and a congregation of hundreds. Nothing more than trees and sand yet the sound of rejoicing filled the air like a cathedral choir.
Most importantly though I thought about the imprint that lives and breathes in my soul because of my relationship with Jesus Christ. It’s a sacred, spiritual imprint that has brought countless moments of grace, mercy and joy. A forever imprint because it has taken me to places of inspiration I never imagined. A forever imprint because it brought people in my life who share my faith and make me a better person.
So as I open the door to 2016 and gaze upon my world I seek to not only be the recipient of imprints but I pray to be the one who imprints others. Just as the sun left a lattice work mark on my wall, I want to let the Son shine through me and leave a mark.
My word is IMPRINT.