Leaving Our Mark

Hospice Cleveland County

Rev. Dr. Terry Floyd



During my eleven years as a chaplain at Hospice Cleveland County, I’ve met many individuals who have influenced me to be a better person in one way or another. There have been days when I felt as if I were on a mountaintop looking across a vast beauty of landscape. On these days, nothing can go wrong.

The good days remind me of the miles that I’ve driven many times coming home from a long trip through the Virginia and North Carolina mountains.  This tiny section of country is called Fancy Gap. The view is breath taking! It appears I can see for hundreds of miles.

However, there have been days that seemed as if I were in a valley and couldn’t see any further than the nose on my face. During those times, I’m reminded of going night hiking in the Hendersonville, North Carolina mountains years ago. My young nephew was leading the way because he was very familiar with the paths that we needed to follow. Occasionally, he would say, “Keep to the left through this area” or “don’t stray to the right or you might fall.” I had to place my trust in him to make the journey safely. I couldn’t see a thing except the stars that reflected from the sky and shined between two mountain peaks. I realized on one of these hikes that even during the tough days of a hike or in life, when I stop to look, things are not too bad.

Several years ago, I had to wake early to start my day. I stumbled out of bed, washed my face – which didn’t help much at 2:30 in the morning, took care of my morning routine, and reluctantly walked out the door. As I locked the door and left my family behind to finish their morning slumber, I continued down the steps toward my vehicle.  For some reason, I stopped to look up at the early morning sky. There were thousands and thousands of stars shining so brightly.  Everything appeared to light up so brightly.

I began walking toward my truck and stopped again. Something looked awkward…what was different…what did I see?  I saw a thousand finger prints on my truck’s side window. As a matter of fact, there were fingerprints all over my windows. It couldn’t be could it?  Hmm…I don’t like fingerprints on glass. I especially like my vehicle glass to be shiny clean. I looked back at the storm door and what do you think I saw?  Yes, I saw fingerprints all over the storm door glass. Thousands of fingerprints to clean when I get home! There were some adult fingerprints, but mostly small fingerprints.  Small fingerprints that belonged to my grandbabies. How could I not be frustrated?

But then something happened! My whole perspective shifted.  I thought, with great awe, those were places that my grandbabies had touched. I began to ponder the significance of all the fingerprints. As the entire world seemed to be quiet and sleeping – with not even a sound from the woods – my mind was suddenly held captive by fingerprints!

Could it be that the Holy One was tapping me on the shoulder to get my attention? Is it possible that I had become too busy to grasp that life was wonderful, and my attitude on life was not aligned properly? Is it possible that, even as I jot these words on paper, that the Holy God of this universe is trying to reveal something to me that I really already know? I believe it is possible.

After all, the stars aren’t just stars and the fingerprints aren’t just fingerprints. Nothing is “just” in this life. We aren’t just a mother or just a father or just a child. We didn’t just work at the job where we were employed during our life time.  We didn’t just happen to get where we are by circumstance.

I find it remarkable that a Holy God created the stars and aligned them in the heavens far above and these stars serve a purpose in our universe. I find it remarkable that a Holy God created individual fingerprints.  I also find it amazing how we touch each other in life, even when we are not aware.

…Just as the glass was touched and covered with fingerprints, someone special has touched our lives along this journey.  The beauty is that we too, have touched lives and left special prints.

Thus, I will continue to live with the concept that life is good and allow myself to be reminded of the beauty and lessons all around.