It’s strange what triggers the memory.
Sights, sounds and scents combine to transport us back in time.
Years melt away and we are reliving heady days of youth, or revisiting childhood.
It doesn’t take much to make us feel we are young again, maybe remembering our parents’ influence.
I remember my mother most in terms of how she displayed and conveyed the essence of womanhood to me; a message I saw and absorbed unconsciously.
Alongside her inevitable scent of ‘Tweed’ perfume, there was a fragrance of femininity, odour of powder and paint to make a body and face more appealing.
There was a lingering trace on tissues ~ a smudged smile hovering like a ghostly presence ~ and a red wet lipsticked kiss staining my cheeks or clothing as poignant reminders of her presence.
I watched with fascination as she applied the swivel stick to her pouting lips, and I mirrored her action with the wetted end of a red Smartie, a dab from rose petals, crayon or felt-tip pen long before I was able to try the art for myself.
Here lay feminine mystique, grooming, making-up, a grown-up rite of passage I was yet to traverse.
I longed to join in with the rituals of womanhood even as my child body and mind refused to accept that I was already a reluctant participant in certain grown-up mystery and ways.
Adults left impressions on me that couldn’t be wiped away. I have grown up wanting to scrub them out of existence, but they stay deep within the recesses of my mind.
Dark inky stains would remain from shadows of the past, mingled with a scarlet blush of assumed guilt and shame.
I’m a work in progress as I heal from the past, drawing strength from God each day, drinking deep from the river of His mercy, love, grace and forgiveness so that I can share it with other hurting, wounded souls.
I’ve crept invisible from being noticed, seen and paid attention to. Hid in corners.
Desiring nothing more than to be left alone, left to my own devices and dreams.
But there’s also an innate desire in us to be safe, secure, to be loved. And love means escaping our comfort zones, becoming available, open and vulnerable.
Then we find ourselves getting assessed, found wanting and rejected by some in order to be found by those who really matter.
How hard it feels at times to make an impression on others. To leave an imprint of our existence.
We want something lasting and tangible to show for just being here. Existing. Living.
We seek to make a mark, stir the air, sink our feet into the sands of time and leave lingering footprints behind, or maybe a monument or two.
Most of us feel like we’re creating castles in the air that crumble into dust and ashes. Hopes and dreams, plans and schemes so often come to nought.
Yet I still hold out hope that I can leave a lasting impression to reveal God’s hand at work in my life.
There will be signs of my sighing out.
Breath patterning the air with poetry.
Laced layers of grace seeping from my broken life and ways.
My story woven from strands of sickness and despair.
My life wrapped up in prose. Poured out to water other thirsty souls.
Painting beauty with ashes. Hope from helplessness.
Suffering redeemed by our Saviour.
Hopefully, the best parts of me will be the family I leave behind, the legacy of a life lived for God, His story bleeding out through my history.
Immortality imprinting itself upon the present.
Echoes of eternity in the here and now.
This isn’t about striving hard to chalk up outward achievement; it’s about having a resting faith, trust and expectation that God will make Something out of the detritus of our wounded, broken lives.
No matter what our external circumstances may be, or what inheritance our fathers and mothers left us with for good or ill, we can aim to leave a legacy of God’s goodness and grace, a lasting impression of how one small life surrendered to Him can become a thing of eternal beauty in His tender loving care.