Footprints in the snow

January 17, 2010

Our yard is full of tracks, of things that have come and gone, mostly without being seen.   There are tracks left by a white tale deer, looking for a snack, or maybe a date.  There are countless rodent tracks, mice squirrels and rabbits, along with a few birds that liked the ground better than the feeder.  There are cat tracks, where the neighborhood calico tried to find a place to conceal itself, awaiting a small meal.  There are even a set of human footprints, heading out to the feeder and away again.

All tracks come form somewhere and go somewhere.  Each set has a story to tell.  Sometimes the tracks in the snow are interrupted; there are feather prints in the snow and the rabbit or squirrel tracks are momentarily squashed and flattened, indicating the presence of a falcon or hawk, and the end of making tracks for one creature. 

We all leave marks behind when we are gone.  Sometimes it is as obvious as tracks in the snow, other times we would be easily missed if not for a bloodhound.  But the tracks are there if one knows how and where to look.

So the tracks we leave behind, are they more likely to lead toward something or away from something else?  Knowing that there are those who come after us, following us, will we leave a trail that is easy to follow or are we more inclined to try to cover our tracks?  Will our footprints point to the cross, or at the very least are they pointing away from sin and danger, or are we hoping Grace covers our missteps?  For some, we know who is following and why, so we leave markers and warnings and bread crumbs, hoping that those who follow don’t repeat our mistakes.   Others of us are so clueless that we sometimes end up following our own patterns in the snow in an endless circle to nowhere.

I hope, whoever come after me is not pursuing me.  I hope they are following Christ and see my trail as a momentary lighthouse, or a danger sign, warning of some possible misstep.  I hope he who follows me does not feel the need to step in my steps, and I hope he does not follow so closely that he misses blazing his own trail, forging his own path.

When I was a kid our mailbox was not on our street.  We had to run across a field to a cross street to pick up our mail.  The path ran right through a berry patch, so in the summer getting the mail was a treat.  But the path was well worn and unmistakable.  Even in the dead of winter or in the midst of a dense fog we could find our mailbox.  I hope whoever comes after me sees the end more clearly than the path.  I hope they see the destination better than they see the footprints.  I hope they don’t spend too much time looking down.  I pray that the path is illuminated by a divine light where I have gone right, and that the path is hidden by a deep shadow where I might lead someone astray.  I hope whoever follows enjoys  the journey. 

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One Response to “Footprints in the snow”

  1. Birt said

    Challenging thoughts my friend.

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