Fading Fingerprints


In my recent post, “The Last Gift,” I wrote about the last present that Dad gave me on Thanksgiving Day. It was practical, a plastic toothpick holder filled with toothpicks.

This morning the thought occurred to me that Dad’s fingerprints, literally, are still on that gift. If I had the powder that the police use to lift and identify fingerprints, Dad’s would be all over that little plastic container. Somehow this thought warmed me to the core. Something of Dad left behind–something invisible yet strangely tangible–his fingerprints. At first, I thought about never picking up that toothpick holder again. Of course, this would completely defeat the purpose of the gift–the reason Dad gave it in the first place. 

Then reality set in. After daily use, Dad’s fingerprints will fade. Soon Wayne’s, Julia’s, Mom’s, Ginger’s and my fingerprints will replace Dad’s and slowly wipe them off. There was no way to preserve those fleeting fingerprints.

Still in this thought I know of some engravings on our lives that Dad left, much deeper than fading fingerprints. Dad could be called faithful, strong, responsible, decisive, funny, and witty. The list could go on and on. His life carved a deep and lasting impression. He left a strong legacy of goodness and godly character.

Dad’s touch, through his choices and example–his fingerprints of life–will last forever in my heart, my daughter’s heart, and her children. These fingerprints will not fade with daily use but will grow deeper and more profound with the passing of each day, each year.

Today, January 3rd, is Dad’s birthday. He would have been 75. We cannot celebrate as a family this year, but the touch of his life is more profound than ever.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. lamar howell says:

    I was working in Dallas, doing sheetrock work on an apartment when I received the phone call that my dad had died in North Carolina. I drove home and wept because it was the week my wife was to deliver our firstborn and it moved me so to know that my dad would never see my children. But I had talked to him two days prior, reminding him of Jesus’ love. The last thing he said to me was a teary “Jesus loves you too.” Death can be illusory but a word or a touch can make it so poignant. To you all, a toothpick will always be a sort of memory stick in eternity’s computer.

  2. Kristin says:

    How well-spoken. My heart goes out to you and my prayers are with you.

  3. Bonnie says:

    I never understood it until I walked through it, Lamar. I am glad you have the memories with your Dad. It is sweet.

    Thanks for your comment.


  4. Bonnie says:

    Kristin, Welcome home! Thanks for your prayers. We really feel them!


  5. Amrita Singh says:

    This struck a chord in my own heart.I felt the same about his things when he passed away 4 years ago

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