content='index,follow' name='robots'/> Plain Talk and Ordinary Wisdom: Footprints in the Sand – Footprints We Leave Behind

Monday, December 3, 2007

Footprints in the Sand – Footprints We Leave Behind

Many of you have heard or read the poem, "Footprints in the Sand", by Mary Stevenson (Zangare). For those of you who have not, you can view it from this website: Footprints in the Sand (click on poem). This is such a beautiful poem and it touches so deeply and reveals our vulnerability. Some place within, we all want to know Someone is looking out for us. A Higher Power that knows all and cares for us especially in our greatest time of need. This poem gives comfort in that.

And yet, I think we can take it further and consider the footprints we’re making right now as you walk along this path of life. What would you most want to be remembered for? It’s not just what you’ve accomplished but the imprint you’ve made along the way with your loved ones and those you come in contact with everyday. Do you think they’ll remember you and how? Or, perhaps more importantly, why should they remember you…or me? These are the footprints. Dr. Wayne Dyer talks about our lives being like a beginning parenthesis when we’re born and when we die an ending parenthesis. We don’t bring anything in and we don’t take anything out and what’s in between the parenthesis is what we get to do with our lives and how effective we are with the gifts and talents we’ve been given. At times, we get caught up so much in the accomplishing and acquiring of things that we miss the importance. Dr. Dyer has also said, “You are not what you have,” You are not what you do,” and “You’re not what people think of you.” Then who are you? You’re that footprint moving through life one step at a time. You’re learning and growing and remembering who you are and where you came from and when you remember a piece of it and it shines forth, you pass it onto another and then you continue on your path.

On Sunday evenings I meet with a group at an Assisted Living Center and last night was special. It opened up some ideas I had on Footprints that I wanted to write about but didn’t quite have the words formed to put down on paper. The Center is now beautifully decorated for Christmas and they’ve put up a tree in the library where we meet. The only ornaments on this tree are small, framed pictures of the residents at an earlier time. It was fun to see what they looked like when they were younger and it occurred to me that this is how we move through our lives. When you have children, you look at them as babies and wonder what they’ll look like when they grow up. And, as each stage comes and goes, you see that individual change in the size and shape of their body, the color of their hair, and shape of their face. Then, you look back at their baby picture and you can see the resemblance but also what totally appears to be a different person. As you keep walking through life leaving your footprints, you’re now middle-aged and you look back at your pictures and see how much more you’ve changed. You continue on this life’s journey and arrive in your golden years and look back and hardly resemble those earlier pictures taken of you in a time that seemed so long ago. You’re at the other end of the continuum from when you started as a baby, but similar, in that the form you now carry is no longer the form you knew throughout most of your life. So, you continue on this path until you’re carried back home from where you first began. The footprints you’ve left behind may appear to have washed away with the waves of time but the essence of who you are will always remain forever.

Where are your footprints taking you right now on this path; how are they impacting the world? It’s time, today, to make your footprints count no matter whom you are or what is your walk of life. You have come here for a reason. No one else like you can impact the lives of those around you. A friend, Tom LaRotonda of Core Matters ( passed along a story via e-mail about Paul Potts, a car phone manager in Bristol, England, who took the chance and let his brilliance shine. Overcoming his shyness and lack of self-confidence, he stepped on stage in answer to a strong passion for music and opera. Watch the faces of the judges and audience transform as he auditions in March of this year for a new talent show in England called Britain’s Got Talent where they were primed for another failure to the glorious disbelief and astonishment for what they heard.

Make the things you do and the people in your lives and all around you important. Take time this holiday season to soak in the sounds and smells and the spirit of love and share it with others.

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time.

-by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

From the kitchen table - Pat
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CG Walters said...

Thank you, Pat, for sharing such an important reminder. Many blessings to you and all you hold dear,

Pat said...

CG - thank you for your comment on my post. Also, I liked your latest article in your blog Always looking for ways to unlearn those things that no longer serve me.

STP said...

I've actually thought a lot about my footprint of late, so this is timely. I think it is important to consider this in the context of what message we leave behind, what we do for others, but also what we do and don't do to the world.

Pat said...

STP - thank you for your comment. You're right about thinking of the context of the messages we leave behind. I think, also, we need to be accountable for our lives, our footprints for the 7 generations that will come after us.