Intentional "Footprints"


A couple of years ago we had the privilege of traveling to Italy on an amazing vacation. We had always heard that the temporal and financial cost of such a trip was exponentially rewarded by the experience.

Although we typically shy away from guided tours, we decided the opportunity to tour Pompeii was too good to pass up. As we walked among the structural remnants of this ancient community I was touched by the awareness that almost two-thousand years ago families were living their lives among these homes and shops. They had walked down these cobbled streets, avoiding horse-drawn carts and carriages that left tracks etched in the stone and that were still visible today. They had decorated the walls of their homes with beautifully pigmented paint, sometimes depicting specific aspects of their lifestyle. One could reportedly identify the economic status of a family by the colors they had their walls painted. I was amazed at the ingenuity of the lead piping that carried water into their homes and businesses (and by the fact that they apparently felt no need to use the same technique to remove waste from their structures, choosing instead to dump it in the street outside).

I think I had always assumed a community of so many years past was inhabited by individuals who were lucky to figure out how to pull water from a well, much less get it into a house. Instead it became obvious that these had been intelligent, creative, and ingenious people who had been living a vibrant life when Mt. Vesuvius erupted on that fateful day. They had left behind, buried among the volcanic ash for centuries, the "footprints" of their existence which we get to observe today.

I couldn't help but wonder what other "footprints" might these people have left behind had they known what was coming. Would they have been more intentional in their choices, much like we do today with those special occasion time capsules we bury for later excavation? As I asked myself this question it allowed me to reflect on what "footprints" I am leaving as I go about my daily routine, and how intentional am I being about those "footprints?" When all is said and done, what kind of person do I want my "footprints" to represent? Perhaps by being more intentional about the "footprints" I leave behind I will be able to rest a bit more easily.