Friday, December 18, 2009

Tracks in the Snow

A week or so ago, we had some snow at my house. It wasn't much, but it was enough to cover up all that old dirty snow and give everything a glittering clean fresh covering. It is always beautiful around here after it snows. Snow followed by sunshine makes the world sparkle. Sometimes it is so bright, it is hard to look at!

One of the things that you can't help but notice a few days after a good snow is all the tracks that are made. The human tracks are logical, going from garage to house, or mail box to house, or car to house, or whatever. Those animal tracks, though, go every which way and seem to lead to no place in particular. They are all different sizes: fox tracks, rabbit tracks, raccoons, squirrels, deer, elk, even mountain lions and bears leave their mark. Those tracks make me realize just how much is going on around my house!

Those tracks also make me think about the tracks that I leave. I think we leave a lot more tracks than we know. One reason I think that is because I can remember many people who have left tracks in my life that probably don't know it. Some of those tracks have been very positive and helpful, some haven't. I remember a couple that I was acquainted with. They were always so friendly and helpful to strangers. I would watch them interacting with others and think that I should be more friendly and helpful to others. They helped me to examine my own behavior and try to be a better person. Whenever I am tempted to be overly shy or to ignore a situation in which I can be helpful, I remember that couple and try to step out of my shell and reach out to others. Those were fine tracks that were left in my life. I appreciate them and remember them often.

Then there are those tracks we would like to cover over. There was a man I worked with who didn't like me much. He was mean! He would send nasty, aggressive emails and say sarcastic things to me. He often said things that were demeaning. Of course these things were all said with a smile and a warm tone of voice. I could never respond fast enough - you know how that is - two days later you figure out what you wish you had said. I always felt demeaned and angry after seeing him. Fortunately, I don't ever have to see him again, but I still get angry when I remember the tracks he left. In fact, I think he was stomping his tracks into me. Someday I suppose those tracks will be filled in and forgotten, but right now, they are still a little fresh.

Well, I know which kind of tracks I would like to leave behind. I also know there are many times I leave the wrong kind of tracks. Some of the tracks I have left make me ashamed. Some of them make me embarrassed. Some of them make me sad. I have finally gotten to the point that now, when I know I have done that, I try to go back and smooth them over with people as soon as possible. This usually requires a change of heart and a sincere apology. Even then, I can only hope that the tracks are truly wiped out. But I'm sure I also leave tracks I don't even know about, so I try to remember to be self-aware and thoughtful.  Perhaps there are times when I leave some pretty good tracks, maybe even times when I don't know about it. I hope so, but I can't say. That's for others to know about. I don't really need to know.

God leaves some pretty interesting and challenging tracks in our lives. For me, those tracks are tracks that have taught me how to love and forgive and play and grow. When I look back on my life, I see tracks all over the place that are made in that beautiful new snow. The world of my soul sparkles brightly under the sun light and those fresh tracks may look like they are going every which way, but somehow they make sense. God's tracks are big and small, delicate and subtle, sometimes deep and powerful. There's a lot going on around my soul! How about the tracks in yours?

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