Once Upon a Time…Prints of Peace
There was an early thirty-something year old mom. She was “just off” one particular day, meaning emotionally just in a funk. Before picking her daughter up after school she stopped and reflected on her day and contemplated what kind of trail “emotionally” she was leaving behind. Were they prints of peace? Hmmm… “Oops!” She realized she had been, shall we say, less than charming in her interactions during the day. Well, before I…uh…before she knew it, words came to her head in the form of a song about footprints.
We all have footprints in our lives. Some of them we leave behind in others’ lives and some of them are left behind in our lives.
The footprints we leave behind are something we have control over, if we choose to. We can either act out whatever mood we are feeling at the moment (maybe warm and friendly, or cold and prickly, or even whiny). Those around us will just get to experience whatever we are feeling at that moment, which at times could be great and other times just hideous! If that is the route you take, then it is possible that people might start avoiding you in the grocery store for fear it was a “bad day.”
However, if we choose to not let whatever has happened that day to be in charge of our behavior, then it’s more likely that people will experience us as more consistent individuals. People actually appreciate it when you can present yourself in a somewhat “even keel” sort of manner. Life has enough challenges that sometimes a friendly interaction can help them redirect their focus from the late bill that got mixed in with the Christmas letters. A friendly little chat can often help people step back and give themselves a break. Accidents happen!
Footprints that are left in our lives are not something we can control. Everyone is in charge of their own behavior and choices. Just because you choose to keep yourself in check emotionally doesn’t mean that others see no reason to do anything other than spread their great grumpiness wherever they go. We do get to choose how we respond to them. Maybe instead of being offended, we can show them a little grace. Little prints of peace.
Sometimes, other people footprints can however leave quite an imprint on our lives. Enough that we can’t help but be affected. Say for example you’re driving down the street sitting at a stop light when suddenly you find yourself caught in the middle of a multiple car, car crash. While the car crash can be upsetting, unsettling, and a bit painful, choices still can be made on how we respond.
At first blush, a victim may have a few choice words they’d like to share. I know I did…um, would have. However, wishing horrible things on the texting driver doesn’t do anyone any good. “Stewing” on things tends to give one a chip on their shoulder and makes them a grumpy Gus. It also burns up a lot of energy that could have been used for something positive.
So anyway, once in a while this songwriter goes back to that old song and sings it to herself to help her remember to pay attention to how she is stepping.
Where are your footsteps taking you? Towards prints of peace?
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