This last week, we flew my son’s best friend Maria out for a visit. Since she was only in town a few days, we packed them full of activities!

My favorite day was our visit to Rickett’s Glen State Park, with its National Natural Landmark: the Glens. WOW. Every single hike there has gorgeous waterfalls. We hiked about 5 miles of tough trails with over 20 amazing waterfalls!

As we clambered over boulders, I noticed that everywhere I looked, people were attempting to leave their mark in this beautiful area.

Handrail (2)

Carved handrail

The quaint wooden bridge’s handrail was carved and written all over with people leaving their names, their loves, and their life’s motto.

Cairn of stacked stones

Cairn of stacked stones

Cairns of stacked stones were everywhere!

At one point, we discovered rocks balanced one atop another in a breathtaking formation. Crowds of people stopped to take a picture!

Stacked stacks

Balanced rocks in formation

Of necessity, we needed to stop often so I could catch my breath. As I enjoyed the beauty around me and attempted to breathe a bit more regularly, I watched as my children explored the area we were stopped in. My teen daughter started to make her own mark on the park—carefully laying one stone after another in a twisting design along the riverbed.

Is this need to leave a personal mark on the world something inherent within us?

Teen laying stones in a design

Teen laying stones in a design

I pondered this as I watched her carefully choose out the exact rock she wanted to use next before placing it next to the last. Then she stood back to contemplate her work. To my daughter, these were not just rocks, this was something meaningful she was creating. To the person who took time to create the rock-balancing formation, it was something meaningful.

Why? Why do we so want to be more than creatures that eat, sleep, and go through our daily living? Why is there something deep within us that makes us want to be more? Wouldn’t we be more content if this drive to leave our mark wasn’t there? Wouldn’t we be more at ease if we just left things as they are?

Impressive stack of stones in the river.

Impressive stack of stones in the river.

The answer is no. We would not be more content. Because we are creations of God and He has placed within us a divine spark that causes us to be discontent when we live beneath our abilities. This same spark causes our hearts to ache with a desire to help when we see someone in pain.

You see, my journey of living as the Good Samaritan had led me to act quite out of character this week. I reached out in a BIG way to a fellow journeyer on this road of life and invited her to come into our lives for a couple of days.

Rock with markings on it.

Rock with markings on it.

It was difficult to reach out to the parents of my son’s friend and ask for permission to fly their daughter out to visit for a few days. My natural reticence made this a very uncomfortable conversation. However, I overcame this because I was driven to do so.

As I watched Maria pick her way carefully along the path, I caught glimpses of her white arms. There, in the light, I could see where Maria had made her mark of despair and hopelessness. There, I could see the still pink scars that marked when Maria had given up and had tried to take her life.



How could I not reach out and attempt to make a mark of my own in her life? A small offering of comfort and love to remind her that there are those who care so very much for her.  A few days of sight-seeing and laughter were not much. But I hope and pray that they leave their mark. I hope that when life next feels dark and lonely, that Maria will KNOW, as I pray everyone knows, that she is needed. Each person’s special, individual mark is needed in this world of ours.

I smiled as I watched the kids climb down into a pool of icy water and start a waterfight with each other. Their laughter rang out as they splashed and swam together. Of course, I couldn’t resist the lure of such invitations and soon I was shivering with cold as we splashed together.

To read more of Emlee's articles, click here.

To read more of Emlee’s articles, click here.

We squished along the trail in our wet hiking clothes, laughing together at our silliness.

As we rounded another beautiful bend in the trail, I noticed a design made on a boulder below. Someone had painstakingly taken small leaves and formed words. I don’t know what the words said, but the message was loud and clear, “Leave your beautiful mark on the world.”


About Emlee Taylor
Growing up all over the world gave Emlee Taylor an opportunity to see the incredible differences the Lord created in humanity; and even better, the passions we all share as members of the human race: love for family, faith, & a desire to make a difference. Emlee lives life with passion—focusing her time now on raising four children and teaching them to recognize truth and to live true to that truth, regardless of others’ expectations. Emlee is passionately in love with her bestest friend and husband of more than 20 years. 

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