On Autograph Books


When I was a student in Grade Eight, back in Regina, Saskatchewan, just a few decades ago(!), Autograph Books were all the rage. Mine was a lovely red colour with gold embossed print on the cover. Everyone seemed to have one and, of course, the idea was to obtain as many “autographs” from your classmates as possible. I’m sure this little “fad” caused lots of headaches for our teachers, much like texting does today.

On the first page of my book is etched the immortal doggerel “By hook or by crook, I’ll be the first in your book.” Then when I flip to the last page I find “By pen or by quill, be darned if you will.” Brilliant stuff, eh?

At any rate, I remember the thrill of receiving the autograph of Douglas. He was the coolest guy in Grade Eight, with button down shirts on his torso and brogues on his feet. Sigh. He wrote in my little autograph book “Your future lies before you, like a path of driven snow. Be careful how you treat it ‘cause every mark will show.” Sigh. More brilliance, eh?

And, yet, when I look back through the mists of time and over the field of snow that is a metaphor for my life, I find lots of marks there – some of which are imprinted in gold. That would include my marriage to Gord and the birth of my children, surely three of the most incredible people on the planet, next to my grandchildren (Gord is hovering over my shoulder as I am typing this and he concurs that he is brilliant, even if only in his mind!). Perhaps you have some of those kinds of people in your life as well. I hope so.

But if I look more closely at that field, I also see some marks etched in black. The decisions I made that hurt other people. The hurt that I experienced as a child living in an alcoholic home. My inability to reach out and forgive. My disappointments. My times of distress. My moments of despair. Those moments are etched in the snow as well.

And because of both, I am the person I am today, neither judged by God nor condemned by God. Just decisions that I made for my life that shaped who I am today. What about you? How’s your field of snow (it’s only a metaphor!) looking these days. And aren’t you impressed that my Grade Eight companion, Douglas, was so brilliant at 13 years of age?

And, remember, the “fields of snow” is only a metaphor. The real stuff is mostly gone!

Blessings, Linda