The Tracks We Leave

By Joseph J. Mazzella • October 22, 2014

When I was a boy I used to love walking in the woods around my home. My Mom warned me several times never to travel so far that I would lose sight of the house. Being a typical boy, however, I soon found myself hiking further and further away, testing just how far I could go into the woods without getting lost. After losing my way once for two hours, though, I decided that I had better leave a trail the next time I went for a walk.

The very next day I decided to try it. I walked into the woods until the house was out of sight. Then I broke a small branch on a young tree to mark my place. I wandered further in and broke another limb and then another. In a few spots where there was no limbs small enough I snapped the heads off Daises and Queen Anne's Lace that were growing where the sunlight broke through the trees. After a while I finally got tired and decided to head back. Turning around I easily found my tracks, but instead of being proud I felt sad. I could see the trail of destruction I had left in the woods going on and on. Looking at the broken limbs and dead flowers I wandered if God was disappointed in me and I vowed never to do that again. Instead, I started to cherish my times alone in the woods with God. I'd sit by the streams and listen to them sing. I'd watch the birds and squirrels. I'd bend down to smell the flowers. And I even buried an acorn or two hoping that one day an Oak might grow.

There is an old Native American Saying that goes "We will be known forever by the tracks we leave." As I have grown older and wiser I have done my best to never leave a trail of destruction in my life as I did in the woods that day. I have instead strived to leave tracks of love, kindness, goodness, and compassion and I have strived to show others that they can do the same. May you always leave tracks of joy as you follow your own trail of love to God.

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