Impressions last forever

My worst nightmare is to be forgotten.

I dream of walking down the street and running into someone who was once a vivid part of my life. I say hello and try to start a conversation, but they stare at me with a blank look … confused… wanting to get away. My nightmares show that I want to make a lasting impression … So that when I meet people, they’ll remember me. And so that when I die, I will live on.

It’s so strange how we can have someone in our company one day. We share a smile and hold a conversation as though life will go on forever. And then the next day, their life is over. The loss of life is tragic and painful.

Many of us have felt the sorrows of the World Trade Center close to our hearts. But this week, tragedy struck closer when two local residents ost their lives in car accidents. Many family members and students are left looking for the impression that was once there.

Each person looking for that impression, that special memory to carry with them of their loved one. And all who look for the memory will find it, because the truth is, you don’t have to be influential to leave an impression.

I used to think that my impressions would be made through whatever job I chose. I thought my life would be defined by my work. But, I quickly discovered that life is defined not through a job or accomplishments, but through relationships. Einstein will forever be remembered for his science, Michael Jordan for his basketball and Marilyn Monroe for her beauty. They each impacted the world in a very unique way. But impacting the world and impacting lives are very different things.

Strangely enough, the easiest way to assure you are forgotten is to isolate yourself from relationships to do something you believe is worthwhile. Extraordinary things are done not in the midst of television cameras and newspaper editors, but when the world isn’t paying attention.

You can leave a lasting impression on someone’s life as a parent, as a spouse, as a coach and as a friend. It’s all in the relationships. All of my truly great impressions came from relationships.

My most memorable impression of my grandpa is of him coming to my parents house, stroking my hair and saying “If only I were years younger. I’d have to ask you out on a date.”

My greatest impression from high school is of an English teacher who believed in me and pushed me to my limit.

I have no great impressions of famous people nor of the so-called influential people of this world. Impressions are made through relationships.

The lives of Birt and Williams left vivid and wonderful impressions on many lives. Each developed relationships through these links, they made their impressions. I knew neither Birt nor Williams. but I am sure their memories will be long lasting and that their lives are not forgotten.

The impressions they have left will live forever, even though their mortal bodies have passed on.

“Today a man discovered gold and fame,
Another flew the stormn seas;
Another set an unarmed world aflame,
One found a germ of a disease.
But what high fates my path attend:
For I- today – I found a friend.”

– Helen Barker Parker