You know the Footprints poem? The one where a man looks back on his life and at times he only sees one set of footprints. He then asks God why there was only one, God replies it was then that I carried you. It is an amazing and beautiful poem! It touches many lives.
My girlfriend, Crystal, decided it was time to change that poem to real day and real time for me and I have since expanded the idea!!! If I look back over my footprints in the sand I will see dragging marks where God said come on, let’s do this and dragged me with Him. I will also see times of multiple sets of prints, where my friends and my tribe walked right along with God and me. There will also be times where there was a gap between two sets of footprints. That is where God and my tribe picked me up and carried me because I couldn’t do it on my own!
So many of us, if we were to look back down our lives paths, would see the same picture. There are times when I am walking right down the path with God beside me and leaning on Him as needed. Those are times I feel confident, strong, and worthy, I am getting through life just fine. My faith is strong, I feel God with me and I am being gentle with myself.
Sometimes there are drag marks in the sand on my beach. This is when I am moving forward reluctantly. It is when a friend comes by and says get up let’s go. It may be when I put on makeup and get dressed just so I can try and make myself feel better about facing the day. It can look really different each time. The drag marks are me when I am moving forward but not on my own. It is when I am saying I am ok when people ask just to avoid the real answer.
At times I see multiple sets of prints in the sand. I have been blessed with amazing people in my life who walk by my side sometimes. These are my people!!! These people are my tribe. They are the ones I lean on when things get tough. They are the ones who are by my side when things are good. These people walk with me through life! It has taken a lot to build this, and it is only a few big right now and that is ok! It has taken time to build this!
And lastly, there are times in life that my set of prints are missing from the middle. Those are the days I can’t get out of bed. Those are the days I need someone to pick my kids up from school. It’s the day that we eat out because I just didn’t get dinner made. It’s the days where all I want to do is hide under my covers so no one can find me. This is the time that my friends and God carry my load. These are the days that my husband, who works 60 hour weeks, picks up all the slack and makes things happen. I hate to admit to days like this, but they happen!
None of these are wrong! I am pretty sure this isn’t only a chronic illness life revision to the poem. I know everyone can relate to this version. Everyone goes through these seasons and we always need to be gentle on ourselves as we go through them.
I don’t have my own beach that my footprints are on, we all walk the same beach of life. We need to walk arm in arm with our tribe. It is also our job to carry and drag our tribe. Be watchful of those around us and always be gentle to yourself!
Footprints in the Sand Rewritten by Elizabeth Tuosto
Adapted from Mary Fishback Powers version
One night I had a dream.
I was standing on the beach with my Lord looking back at the path I had taken through my life.
I noticed there were different sets of footprints for the different seasons in my life.
“When there are two sets of footprints, was that you and I?” I asked the Lord.
“Yes, I never left your side,” the Lord replied
I asked the Lord “Why is there a set of footprints and toes dragging in the sand?”
He replied, “That is when I was convincing you to come with me.
That is when you couldn’t believe what was happening in your life.
That is when your friends pulled you out of your own head.”
“And when there are all those footprints in a cluster?”
“That is when your tribe was with you and I walking through life.
Those are the people that help you through your good and bad times.
They surround you.
They love you endlessly”
“Lastly Lord, why is there a gap between the two sets of footprints?”
The Lord replied, “Child, that is when we carried you.
Sometimes it takes a village to get you back on track
But it is always worth it.
And we are always there.”
The Lord whispered to me, “My dear loved one, I will never leave you.
Depend upon me and I will always be at your side.
Lean on your people on earth and they will love you as I love you.”