Footprints

footprints in the sandIn his writing and workshops Rob Sheppard sometimes talks about how nature photographers should not be afraid to show “the hand of man” in their work.  I confess I rarely do this.  Today, however, I venture to show “the foot of man.”  I took the picture of my footprint on the beach shown above a couple of days at Gulf Islands National Seashore in Florida.  I took the picture simply to illustrate that all of us leave footprints behind us.  As we come to the end of another year and prepare to start another, that is not a bad thing to remember.

There are a number of different levels we leave footprints.  Environmentalists often speak of our “carbon footprint.”   The way we live our lives has an impact on the earth.  If we are going to be good stewards of the earth we will strive to live our lives in such a way that that impact is a positive one.  It will require effort and discipline on our part but if Creation Care is important to us we will be willing to do whatever we can to care for the earth.

tracks in sandAs a Christian I am also aware that how I live my life has an impact on others.  John Donne was right, “no man is an island.”  Everything I do affects other people, not just me.  As I look back on 2010 I realize that some of my actions left positive impacts while others left negative ones.  There are a lot of things I wish I had not done or done differently.   I cannot change the past but I can learn from it.  Hopefully in 2011 I will not repeat some of the mistakes I made in 2010.  

As the New Year draws near I find myself hoping and praying that I will be a better steward of Creation and of God’s grace in the year to come.  I know that one way or another I will leave my mark behind, as will you.  Remembering this might just cause us to be more careful where and how we leave our footprints in the coming year.  Happy New Year!

–Chuck

(In addition to the image of my own footprint I have included another picture I took at Gulf Islands National Seashore showing bird prints in the sand that reminds us that all living things leave their mark on this earth.)