Something that most people don’t know about me is that I was raised on the Catholic faith. My mother studied to become a nun (once again, SUPER happy she didn’t pursue that route) and my family and household were rife with references to the Catholic Church. It influenced me throughout my childhood, considering I attended elementary school before Canada had a firm separation of church and state. We even had missionaries in our family and I would donate some of my belongings every year to impoverished countries at the behest of these family members.
Although the years that followed would see me steer away from the Catholic Church and organized religion as a whole, some aspects of my theological studies remained with me. And as I’ve always believed, true knowledge can be found in most religions and applied to all. One of these examples is the story known as “Footprints”. Although who the author of this “poem” was is still debated, it carries a powerful message. Here’s the poem:
One night I dreamed a dream
I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
One belonging to me and one to my Lord.
When the last scene of my life shot before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
There was only one set of footprints.
I realized that this was the lowest and saddest times of my life.
This always bothered me and I questioned the Lord about my dilemma.
“Lord, you told me when I decided to follow You,
You would walk and talk with me all the way.
But I’m aware that during the most troublesome times of my life,
There is only one set of footprints.
I just don’t understand why, when I need You most, You leave me.”
He whispered “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you,
Never, ever, during your trials and testings
When you saw only one set of footprints,It was then that I carried you.”
I believe we find knowledge and truth in the places we least expect them. When I first heard this poem, I was about 8 years old. I had been diagnosed as a Type 1 Diabetic four years prior, I was in poor health and had already suffered several Diabetic comas. My life was in jeopardy and insulin resistance posed a real threat to my continued existence.
I couldn’t conceive of life and a future at that point, but as I look back at everything I’ve suffered through I realize that I’ve left a significant number of footprints in the sand, myself. If one were to tell me I’d be where I am now, ten years ago, I likely would have laughed in their faces.
The thing about sand is that although it’s solid matter, it holds nothing permanently. Eventually, those footprints melt away and life goes on. So ask yourself: who will remember your footprints? What impact have you had and what difference have you made in the world that your footprints should be cemented in the minds of others? The answer you find may shock and/or inspire you…
Not everyone has religious beliefs. And that’s okay. We live in a modern world where science has been able to prove (or disprove) most things written in religious texts. But that doesn’t make some of their lessons any less timely or important. The impact we make on this world has the opportunity to either remain in the memory of others of fade away with the washing of the sand. the choice is yours. ☯