The Myth (And Fact) Of Fingerprints, Part II

(ATLANTA - original post date (
link here): 27 May 2008 | updated on 4 May 2011) :: In many ways, we *are the people around us.

We are an amalgam of personalities, legacies, love, hatred, ambivalence, random acts of all kinds - wearing a reflection of those energies on our skin. And yet we wake up some days thinking the entire world tilts on our axis; that everyone is against us, life is hopeless and the sky is permanently falling.

When faced with the choice of more love or worry, we very often choose the latter without so much as a thought. Why do we do that?

The challenge for us is to find where authentic love lies - about where it breathes, how we contribute to its collective, where it compounds itself and how, and when it's likely to happen again. When we turn the right stones, or seek the right fortune, there it will be. And that's for those of us lucky enough to have found the romantic type of love more than once, in more than one person; who are brave enough to risk the fool after getting the shaft and going great guns to find it again.

Truthfully, we're
all faced with many great challenges over the term of our lifetimes. Our resiliency during these periods often help shape the way we cherish ourselves, and equally important, each other.

Jimmy Roberts, sports reporter for NBC and commenting on Andre Agassi some time ago, shared this spontaneous, eloquent gem about a person's unspoken impact:

"An old friend of mine used to say that there are people in this lifetime who leave footprints. In other words, there are these people, and we all know them, who have an impact. They aren’t necessarily the best at what they do; they might not always behave the way we wish they might, but they make an impact on all of us."

This thought is true for everyone - not just those like Andre, whom we might put on a pedestal. Consider Chris "Crusty" Haddle's fight against
mucinous adenocarcinoma, which caused a dull ache he detected in his lower abdomen back in 2008 that felt like simple appendicitis, but turned out to be stage-two cancer that required radical surgery. He needed six months of chemotherapy and just had a second and less-disruptive surgery a few days ago.

Also consider Gene Rector, who was officially diagnosed with lymphoma, and who endured chemo *and radiation since it had spread to his spleen. He is cancer-free as of this writing.

So what or who is at work here? None of us can point to one thing. But the remaining residue - both in emotional and metaphysical terms - is that we should always know the fingerprints that our friends, family, neighbors, strangers on the street, anyone, leave on us. They contribute to a better understanding of ourselves. They are the cherished gas in our engine, the great person we've yet to meet, the random waitress with whom you've just connected somehow - while on a road that would be much more boring and barren without them.

So, run to the windows, rush to the phone... tell your mother, your friend, even someone you're unsure about. Look in their eyes and tell them their impact. Crusty and Gene have both in their own ways changed me for the better, and for that I'll always be grateful.

Being good to each other, even when it might step on your own purpose or agenda, is tantamount to a peaceful coexistence. Think about it. If we use that mission in everything we do - from the politicians we choose down to the type of milk we buy - we'll see a spontaneously different world around us.

Because someday, someone will see your "footprints" in the sand, your fingerprints on something great, and admire the decisions you made.
- WP

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