Everyday, several times a day I walk my dogs. One is part Lab and the other two are Mini Pinchers; two boys and a girl. They have their route. Sometimes we mix it up a bit just to keep their minds sharp and give them a little variety. One normal thing they do is leave their mark.
Fact is we all leave our mark in various ways. There’s this guy here who uses other peoples’ discards, sets them in his front yard and puts plants in them. It’s so unusual, eclectic and actually beautiful in its own way. Whether he intended to be defined by his garden or not, he left his mark.
Marking for dogs is actually creating a territory. It’s like putting down stakes or stones and declaring to the world around, ‘this is my area’. Observant Jews do this by securing an eruv which is a connected boundary line establishing the zone with which one may carry and do certain things on Shabbat otherwise not permitted.
I have heard it said we should try to minimize the footprint we leave behind as so much of the earth is being literally trampled by the consumption of human beings. And while this certainly has it’s place in our conscious about caring for this world so there is a world left for generations to come, I can’t help but wonder if we are erasing too much of ourselves and somehow failing to make the marks we were intended to make.
It may all seem mumbo jumbo to you but I believe we are meant to make a mark along our paths of life. Maybe we can mark the potential pits one might fall in. Maybe we can leave a map of sorts that helps others so the don’t become lost.
I’m reminded of the story of Joseph when he was on his way to find his brothers and get some sort of report from them of their success to take word back to their father Jacob-Israel. Along his path was a stranger who gave Joseph directions. The map maker is familiar with the marks others leave along the path,…
We can be and should be markers. Unbeknownst to us we may inadvertently be that stranger who changes the destiny for an entire civilization. This means everything.
Please, for your own sake, the sake of your children, and generations to follow, mark your path. Your mark may save multitudes of lives and you will never know it. Leave your mark.