The Gift of Life

By Crystal Tingle

Do you know what I see when I look around my home? I see an amazingly gifted songwriter who, as Barry Manilow put it best, writes the songs that make the whole world sing! I see a famous video game designer who has developed the next generation game play that no one ever thought possible, so futuristic! I also see a brilliant engineer who will design a smart home that self-protects against flooding and fires and theft, unable to be penetrated or destroyed by natural disaster or home invasion! I see possibilities! I see potential! But mostly, I see value! Not monetary value but rather value in simply who they are and were created to be! Their individuality. What they love to do! Their unique DNA. Their wonderful contribution to the world, their friends and family by just being them. Their priceless and irreplaceable value to me.  Yes, they are my three sons. And each of them is so very different from the other. Their unique expression of life and dreams is what I love …much like a fingerprint, they each have their own soul print, that one thing that no one else but them can mark this world with and every person they encounter! I don’t know if they will ever eventually be a famous musician, game designer or engineer but regardless, their immeasurable value to me is not what they do, it is distinctly who they are and what they bring to my life!

I’ve shared this before but it is worth repeating because it is so important that we allow this to sink into our very core. A dear friend of mine who at the time was healing from being a two-time cancer survivor spoke these words to me in the midst of her affliction: “Honey, if you had never lived, would anyone be affected? Make a difference that you have lived.”  I will admit at first hearing that seemed like so much pressure. What a huge weight to know that I MUST impact people to the point that if I never was, their lives would be less because I was never in it. Holy moly! But as I have gotten older and think often on what she said, I understand it differently than I did almost 33 years ago. 

Why? Because I see differently now. I see now that it isn’t about performing or excelling. It isn’t about solving the world’s problems or finding the cure for a disease. It isn’t about going to the best college or having the highest paid job. Making a difference is about our soul print! Just as unique as our fingerprint is, our soul print is all the more valuable! You see, our fingerprint identifies who we are individually but our soul print…well, that magnifies all the lives that have been touched and are being touched BECAUSE of your fingerprint…because you ARE.  You are daily marking this earth with a part of you…your soul print is everywhere…left behind at every place you visit and person you encounter. YOU are making a difference in someone else’s life whether you see it or not.  

"It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see." -- HENRY DAVID THOREAU

I believe Thoreau’s words are saying that the image we might describe based on what our eyes observe is not necessarily what is in front of us. It’s what lies within us. What we believe to be truth about ourselves and our value and significance to others will determine the soul print we leave. It will determine what we see and how we see it. What do you believe about yourself? What lens do you see things from? Does your lens hold tight an image of just how valuable you are? If so, you will handle with care because you believe and know that you are a precious gift!  And all that you are is wrapped up waiting for someone to open so you can leave your soul print on his or her life.  They are waiting with joyful expectancy! 

But what I also believe and see is this. I see how our world has changed because of technology. I see the pressure put on our teenagers these days to perform and one-up another. I see the private lessons and the travel teams stealing time from our Norman Rockwell sit-around-the- kitchen-table days of old. I see social media measuring our worth based on a thumbs-up.  I see the low value we unconsciously are tagged with when we compare ourselves to smoothing filters and edited images. I see this pressure trying to steal our worth and our significance and our soul print! I see it desensitizing our youth and adults as well in the art of communication and real life. I see the lie that we sometimes believe as truth!  

I read this the other day and I thought it was so good. It reminded me of the recent hurricane, Nate, that came in as a tropical storm.  Well, Nate didn’t scare me in the least, but I admit when I was awakened by Nate’s presence at about 5am and looked out to see the trees in my backyard a little more bent over than I anticipated, it rattled me for a moment. Oh, we were fine and fared well, but it has been a while since we have weathered a big storm in this area and I had forgotten what 50 mph gusts looked like, much less if it had been even a CAT 1 hurricane or worse. But as I watched the tops of the trees bend, I also watched the base at the roots. They stood strong. So when I read this, I was moved: 

“Consider a tree for a moment. As beautiful as trees are to look at, we don't see what goes on underground - as they grow roots. Trees must develop deep roots in order to grow strong and produce their beauty. But we don't see the roots. We just see and enjoy the beauty. In much the same way, what goes on inside of us is like the roots of a tree.” --Joyce Meyer

The value of that tree is in its roots! It’s what is on the inside regardless of what is happening on the outside. It doesn’t matter if it produces succulent fruit or a gumball. The value lies within and its ability to stand tall and recognize its significance and beauty. Nature depends on that tree.  Wildlife find safety and refuge and love in its boughs. And just like a tree, your roots, the valuable and unique things within you, leave a mark, an imprint that only you possess. Distinctly you! That is the fruit you bear. That is your soul print.  That is the amazing gift to the world of your life!  That is truth!

And in a world of thumbs-ups or smiling emojis or clicked hearts to “love,” you may not always see whom you make a difference to…. but they are there. Watching. Listening. Loving. Appreciating you! Embracing your soul print. It is just that simple. It is about being! Being you! All of you! Roots, fruit, gumballs … whatever! Just be you…the wonderful, unique, one-of-a-kind you! Billy Paul, who wrote many amazing songs, said this: “All my life, I wanted to sound like myself. I never wanted to sound like anybody else.” He didn’t say as much but he recognized his strong roots within, his unique soul print. And you have one too. You’re a precious gift and your value is priceless!  The point is …be you! Just be the remarkable unique beautiful one-of-a-kind you! Because we need the gift of your soul print in our lives!

Subscribe to On the Coast Magazine's Free Newsletter for regular updates!