Its imprint on our soul


To the Greeks, it was first  “a stamping tool”.

Then,  “to inscribe or engrave”. Used mostly  in reference to how a coin was marked to distinguish its value  from another.

Being that “it” alone  is the coin of the realm – makes perfect sense.

Over time, as its derivatives,  usage and meaning evolved, “it” came to define a set of  distinguishing features and traits.

In Middle English,   the “imprint on the soul.”

And today, simply,  “character”.


That intangible, tangible.

The sole entity, that once revealed,  is immediately and irrevocably  recognizable as either good – or – bad.

And that  revelation begs the  question.

If character is immediately recognizable and ultimately  irrevocable from without – then how is it possible that we would ever  choose to undermine it – from within?

A singular choice that speaks volumes:

That abiding by our better selves is an endeavor too unyielding and  demanding  a taskmaster.

That aspiration can never match expectation.

And intention can never become reality.

That the act of distinguishing ourselves with our best is  just  too deliberate, painstaking and costly an undertaking.

So let’s be honest.

There will be circumstances that come along.

Ones featuring gratification of the instantaneous variety.

Singing a siren song that can  prove just  too powerful to ignore.

Instants determined to cajole us to first  find,  and then  take,  “the easy way out”.

In  moments that present themselves as “no one is looking”.

Or better yet, “no one is around.”

So – “no one will ever know.”

Times that when allowed, will define us. Instead of us defining them.

Leading us to a  death spiral of self-defeating efforts, reinforced by an  internal calculus solely designed to  excuse, rationalize and absolve.

A personal math developed to  equate undermining our character with  acceptable,  collateral,  damage.

An entirely self-inflicted circumstance that begs yet other questions:

What does this say about how we engrave ourselves?

And the value we have placed on the coin of our  realm?

Let alone its imprint on our soul?