Several years ago I wrote an article that speaks to our theme of “From One Generation to Another.” It was a stroll down memory lane that I think reminds us of the value of sharing our faith in each stage of life. My life has been blessed to have had musical and spiritual mentors who nurtured me throughout my life. Family, friends, and church all played a significant role. In this edition of WorshipSongsOnline our bloggers visit this important concept.



My grandparents’ house stood one block off Main Street in the small mill town of Spindale, North Carolina. I spent many wonderful days at their home, climbing the trees and scampering along the rock retainer walls that enclosed the property and kept the front yard from tumbling out onto Iowa Street. The old wall bulged in places, and proudly displayed more than a few cement patches, battle scars of the often-harsh North Carolina winters.

One afternoon, while exploring a stairway that allowed pedestrians entrance into the yard, I noticed some well-worn footprints on one of the cement landings. In the corner was a faint and weathered imprint of a slender shoe and what appeared to be a child’s tiny hand.

Excited at my discovery, I wasted little time asking my grandmother about the mysterious fossils. Hand in hand, I led her to the place and, eyes smiling, she told me that the ancient decorations belonged to my father, who had placed them there in the fresh cement when he was a little boy.

I often returned to that spot and wondered what my dad had been like as a kid (apparently, a little more mischievous than I had been led to believe). I imagined him throwing baseballs against the wall or climbing the trees. I often placed my own hand in the imprint to compare it with his. As the years went by, it became a ritual for me to visit the landing and to sit still for a bit and remember.

As teachers and parents, we also leave behind “faithprints” in the lives of our children. They are testaments to our journey, a sacred place for the young to visit and know that they are part of something lasting.

Let us engrave upon their hearts something of worth, something that will stand the test of time. By our example, let us carve integrity into their spirits and impress, in the soft and malleable places of their hearts, a love for music and faith that will last a lifetime.

After my grandparents passed away, I made one more nostalgic return to the little white house on Iowa Street. As I walked up the familiar steps, I noticed that the new owners of the house had resurfaced the old landing. The weathered outlines of my father’s hands and feet were gone, replaced by a smooth layer of brick pavers. After a few tears, I ran my hands over the place where I had spent so many hours. Although I could no longer see the prints with my eyes, I knew that they were still there. Somewhere deep, underneath it all, they lay engraved forever on my heart.

© 2018 Joseph M. Martin  All rights reserved.



Joseph Martin, a native of North Carolina, earned his Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. Subsequently he earned a Master of Music degree in Piano Performance at the University of Texas, Austin. Joseph taught for five years in the Piano Pedagogy Department of the University of Texas. His piano teachers include Jimmy Woodle, David Gibson, Amanda Vick Lethco, Martha Hilley and Danielle Martin. While at Furman University, he was accompanist for choral director and composer Milburn Price and, inspired by his teaching, Martin began to compose.
He is a member of the staff at the Hal Leonard Corporation and Shawnee Press, Inc. as Director of Sacred Publications, with responsibilities for overseeing the editorial and creative direction of the company and also coordinating the recording and production aspects of future sacred publishing efforts.
Joseph has performed solo piano recitals and has been the featured artist with symphony orchestras in the United States and Mexico. As winner of the Nina Plant Wideman Competition, he performed with the Guadalajara Symphony Orchestra. His solo recital in Ex-convento del Carmen was broadcast nationally throughout the country.
Joseph is Artist in Residence at Concordia University in Austin, Texas where he lives with his wife Sue, and his children Jonathan and Aubrey.

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