My summer job back in high school was at a local produce market. We’d gather each morning and set out to the fields to pick muskmelon, watermelon, tomatoes, sweet corn, and whatever else would sell at a large margin. But for this market, muskmelon was the main item. Something about the soil of that land made the melons particularly tasty. And, for those who haven’t grown up around a farm, these all needed picked by hand. There is no muskmelon combine. We were taught what a ripe melon looked like, and how to remove the fruit gently, yet purposefully, from the vine without damaging the crop.
There were 4 of us. Three would be in the row of melons and one would be at the wagon placing them in crates. After handling a few thousand melons (literally) within the first few weeks of harvest season, something began to happen to our hands. Specifically, our fingertips. Picture a muskmelon. It has a fairly rough outer skin. And, after picking up, tossing, catching, and placing a few thousand melons into the crates, your fingertips began to smooth. Within a few weeks, our fingerprints were completely gone. They were as smooth as a newborn baby’s cheek. This ultimately made gripping normal, everyday items a chore. For example, picking up a glass of water. Without the friction caused by fingerprints, the glass was as slippery as anything on the planet. Though, with fingerprints, the glass was easily lifted. So, you learned to manage this situation throughout the summer as your fingers became pretty clumsy, but at the same time had very strong grip strength. The running joke around us laborers was how many crimes we could get away with since we had no fingerprints to leave at the scene.
The National Forensic Science Technology Center states that, “no two people have ever been found to have the same fingerprints — including identical twins.” Also, it’s important to keep in mind that fingerprints also vary between your own fingers — this means you have a unique print on each finger. According to the governmental National Center for Biotechnology Information, fingerprints are more highly individualized than DNA profiles based on the technology being used in forensic laboratories!
I’ve written before about the 8 billionth person that was born in late 2022. Multiply 8 billion times 10 fingers for each person, and you get a very large number of unique fingerprints in the world today (ok, ok, I just can’t do it…I’m a numbers guy, I have to provide you with the answer of 80 billion…in case you couldn’t do that math at home😉). I also wrote that it’s believed that since the dawn of time, around 100 billion people have lived and died. That means that there have been over 1 trillion unique fingerprints since Adam and Eve. Oh, and did I mention that your toes have a unique print, as well as the palm of your hand and the soles of your feet? Absolutely mind blowing.
Such implicit uniqueness, don’t you think? Each fingerprint exclusively designed for the individual in which they are attached. Each individual, designed with a unique set of skills, abilities, passions and purpose. Each created on purpose, for a purpose. Each one navigating this thing we call life. Each day presenting a new opportunity to conquer or be defeated. To build others up, or to tear them down. To put one foot forward in spite of the pain, or to cower in despair.
Go ahead, take a look at your unique fingerprint. Rub your fingers together to feel the raised edges that give you the ability to hold things. Be amazed that your set of fingerprints is unlike any other. No one that has ever lived or will ever live will have the same print as yours.
You were designed for this moment. You were made for this purpose. No one else like you either behind or ahead. Seize this day. Make it count. Pour yourself into your purpose. Both at work and at home. Tackle that project with pride. Solve that puzzle. Hug your kid. Tell them how proud you are of them. Speak life into your spouse. Connect with your neighbor. Volunteer at that non-profit. Read that book. Gaze at the sunset. Marvel at the sunrise. Appreciate the miracle of your unique fingerprint, of your unique impact on this world.
And live on purpose today…