Walk Far: Monument
"If you want to walk fast, walk alone.
If you want to walk far,
walk with others."
- African Proverb
Throughout my life I have been privileged to visit amazing monuments around the world. I’ve walked the grounds of the Taj Mahal, admired the shining walls of the Golden Temple, gazed down into the arena of the Roman Colosseum, felt the wind atop the Eiffel Tower, marveled at the Sistine Chapel and encountered the quiet dignity of Mount Rushmore. You may have visited such monuments yourself, or perhaps you’ve read about them, admired photos or have seen them in movies. But when you stand before them and see them close up, they awe and inspire.
We each try to build our own monuments: families, homes, rituals, projects that bear our names or plaques that document our contributions. It’s human. We want to leave a mark, something to say we have been here, so that people will remember us.
I have my own monuments: some children in Kenya have been named after me, I have planted trees in communities around the world and a few buildings bear my family name.
Still, none of those things guarantee that I will be remembered. I once lived in a small apartment in Kenya with a plaque on the front door that was inscribed with the name “Evelyn Gardner.” I asked about her, but no one seemed to know who she was.
In the words of William Faulkner, “A monument only says At least I got this far while a footprint says This is where I was when I moved again.”
I often think about the places I have walked, those I have walked alongside and those who have walked with me. We are supposed to leave a mark. The world should be a different place because you and I were here. We need to pay attention to where we are standing now, so that when we move, the right kind of mark is left behind. I pray that what remains will be truly lasting for the Kingdom.
APRIL FOSTER is director of Others - Trade for Hope. In this series she shares lessons learned from her 29 years in overseas ministry.