Saturday, March 23, 2013

I Was Here!

An inuksuk is a pile of stones carefully placed on each other to represent a human form. They are a landmark, used by the Inuit, Inupiat, Kalaallit, Yupik, and other peoples of the Arctic region of North America. They are found from Alaska to Greenland and may have been used for navigation, a point of reference or a marker for travel routes, fishing spots, hunting grounds or to mark a food cache.
Nobody really knows for sure what they signify other than the fact that a human, a person, was once there at that spot and took the time to find the stones which would balance on one another to mark the fact that he/she was there. They wanted to be remembered. They wanted to say: 'I was here! Remember me.' 
I met up with some old friends today I haven't seen in a long time. It was nice to get a chance to catch up on all their family news and to see that they are so happy together. They are a husband and wife team who work well together in their painting and plastering business. Years ago, when we first met them, the husband told us that the doctors didn't give him a very good prognosis. His lungs had been damaged by working with lead paint long before people knew to use a mask when painting. He didn't know how many years he had left so he determined that he would provide for his family by teaching them all his trade. So he did. He taught his wife and made sure she had her own clientele in case something should happen to him. He also taught his sons and daughter so that they would be able to have a trade and provide for themselves. Today, many years later, he has a successful business and the Lord has blessed him with continued health. Some day when his life is over he will have made his mark and people will know he was here because he passed on his knowledge.
When I got home today, I logged onto the computer and found that a cousin's young daughter is an accomplished artist. She has made incredible paintings and sketches using her natural, God given talent. Her work is truly amazing. I have commissioned a painting from her and I can't wait to see it completed. This young girl is making her mark and saying 'I was here'. Long after she is gone, her work will live on and be enjoyed. 
Having experienced both of these events on the same day made me more aware than ever that we must leave a mark behind. We live in an extremely selfish world but we must choose not to be. We must share our knowledge so maybe the next generation won't have to make the same mistakes we did. We must teach what we have been taught. We must share what we've been given. We must make a mark, an impression, on the next and future generations. 
I write stories. I began writing stories so that my mother could read them when she began to forget so she would remember again. Now, I write because I love to write. I want future generations of my family to know that I was here. I want them to somehow know who I was and get a sense of the kind of person I was by the words I have shared on a page. I want to be remembered.
What will you leave behind? Will it be a talent or a skill you have taken the time to share with another? Will it be an act of compassion that changed someone's circumstances? Will it be fond memories? Will it be something you've built or created? The northern people left a inuksuk to mark the fact that they were here, what will you leave behind?

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