Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Footprints, shellfish and rabbits' feet

When I was a little girl, I would visit my grandmother. Her house was a bit small, but it was just her living there. I loved it because everything in it seemed old. The light switches were old, the fixtures were old, the carpets were old. Everything seemed like it was purchased in the 1950s.

One thing I distinctly remember was a framed poem; you know, the kind with a picture – and the picture was of the same thing as the title of the poem, footprints in the sand.

Author Unknown

One night a man had a dream.
He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the Lord.

Across the sky flashed scenes from his life.

For each scene, he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand. One belonged to him, and the other to the Lord.

When the last scene of his life flashed before him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand.

He noticed that many times along the path of his life, there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest
and saddest times in his life. This really bothered him and he questioned the Lord about it.:

"Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you, you'd walk with me all the way. But I have noticed that during
the most troublesome times in my life,
there is only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why when I needed you the most you would leave me."

The Lord replied, "My precious, precious child, I love you and would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then I carried you."

Every once in a while, I need to be reminded of this. I need to be reminded that during the dark, hard times, God is there. I find it interesting that people pull away from God at the tough times. Sometimes.

Some people use God as a rabbit's foot, saying, "God, please give me the wisdom to pick these six numbers for PowerBall. But we have been using God that way for so long – think of Moses, holding up his arms, rubbing that lucky rabbit's foot so his army would defeat the Amalekites. And we are led to believe that if Aaron and Hur had not been on that mountain, holding up Moses' arms when he grew tired, that the Amalekites would have been victorious. Not quite the same as picking those six numbers, but I see more similarities than differences (not sure if the odds were the same).

It is funny, though, because I get the impression that it matters little to God why we pray to him. It seems to be for our benefit, not his. And if stroking a rabbit's foot is the first step in your discernment process, I think it makes little difference. I mean, its not like you are worshiping false idols or eating shellfish.


Grant said...

I like Ellen's version better: "...when you see only one set of footprints, it was because I was riding on your back." That explains a lot.

I prefer to worship by listening to devil music and playing with my voodou dolls. But I'm off the shellfish, so I'm holier than a lot of people I know.

Mike said...

I think God must chuckle every time someone prays to win the lotto and should God have a sense of humor.....that just will never fly....lol

Shannon said...

I agree with Mike.. lol.. I thought God was against Gambling haha

But seriously, I love that poem.. I had it in my previous house (Before the fire) and I had it in my bedroom growing up. I was very religious when I was little and thru my teen years...I still am but not to the same degree.

I know God must exist and answer our prayers or I wouldn't be where I am right now.

Love this post =)

Joe said...

I remember how moved I was the first time I read that poem.

I'm always amazed at how many people find their way back to religion during difficult times, but then again perhaps that's exactly what they poem talks about.

TrappedInColorado said...

My difficult times were oft times caused by religion.

Today, my own spirituality is very comfortable to me.

Non-duality - I am not seperate from God, I am a part of God. I believe in a non-intervening God. Judge ideas, not people. Love holds no grievances. Forgive all and if you can not forgive then accept. Respect all your fellow brothers and sisters and try to walk a mile in their shoes.

Some of that is very hard but that is most often the case. The right way is usually the hardest.

I respect all people and their choice of religions. All I want is to have that respect returned to me. The "if you do not lead a life based on my religion then you are a godless heathen." preaching is wrong. I try to smile inward and give them the forgiveness/acceptance I mentioned earlier.

I work hard at forgiving/accepting the fact that sometimes indescribable evil is done in the name of God. There are many examples of that throughout history and all you have to do is look at Iraq today and the slaughter between the different sects of Islam. How can I walk a mile in their shoes? I can't. I just have to turn around and leave them to their God.

Did I just preach or simply express my views? I hope I just expressed.

I like what you said, Leesa.


Leesa said...

grant: I knew you would mention voodou dolls. I just knew it.

mike: want to make God laugh? Make plans.

shannon: thanks sweetie. And I am sure the guys here love seeing you in your shirt, too!

joe: I really did not understand the poem when I was a little girl.

trapped: You said, "There are many examples of that throughout history and all you have to do is look at Iraq today and the slaughter between the different sects of Islam. How can I walk a mile in their shoes?" Actually, all you have to do is look at the US, and see how we sometimes treat one another. Jesus said, "Whatever you have done to the least of my brothers, you have done to Me." Makes one pause to think of what we have done.

TrappedInColorado said...

How true, Leesa. How true.

You have a good heart.


Prata said...

Having read that footprints thing before, I've always been curious about something.

Christians do believe that humans are capable of success and triumph correct? Because it doesn't seem that way. What it reads like, is that humanity when suffering, they must use a deity to move forward lest they remain stagnant and continue to suffer. I have logical problems with that. Could you explain that for me please?

Also, can you explain to me another recurring theme I've noticed with the bible. When people fail, it is either purely their fault and the god brings them to better times or the god had plighted them with this incident/state of affairs. Could you touch on how humanity has progressed at all if humanity is dependent upon, to the degree in which the bible teaches, a deity?

I've never prayed sincerely in my life, nor asked the god sincerely for anything. Granted I did pray in school as a child, but that is because I was punished if I didn't. Yet all things I seek to accomplish I eventually succeed in. When I fail at something I can only blame me. So how does that work for you? Is there a clear cut answer for that?

Bee said...

Ah, the footprints poem. I learned all about this poem in the 4th grade. Gotta love catholic schools.

thanks for the memory.

ProfessorGQ said...

I remember this poem...it is very touching and it's like a parable moreso a poem to me.

Jay said...

I agree with you. I belive that If you have the lord in your heart he will always be with you. I must say He has always been with me.

kathi said...

I've found myself on more than one occasion, praying at one of my kids ballgames...and that the guys won't find that piece of chocolate that I'll hide just for me in the fridge...
I trust He's got a sense of humor, after all, we're made in His image and look at us!
Great post.

Leesa said...

prata: You said, "Also, can you explain to me another recurring theme I've noticed with the bible. When people fail, it is either purely their fault and the god brings them to better times or the god had plighted them with this incident/state of affairs." Read Job. Talk about a guy doing everything right and having nothing but trouble.

bee: thanks, sweetie.

ProfessorGQ: never thought of it as a parable. Until now.

jay: good feeling, huh.

kathi: I agree with you, sweets.

~Deb said...

Wow---great post! My mother has this plaque of “Footprints”. Sometimes we forget about God when things are going ‘too good’ in our lives----or going too bad. For me? I sometimes fail to pray to God when things are going too good for me. (Rare that they go too good…) Anyway, when I’m the weakest, that’s when God works within my life and when I pray the most. But, it’s nice to pray to Him when things go good or bad…regardless. We don’t have to use big fancy words to get His attention, nor try to appear intelligent. We need to come to Him as “children”. Life is full of bad times; and that’s why a lot of people ask, “Well if there is a God—why does He let that happen?” Life’s a big test. Being patient and having the strength to walk through it is the thing---but having God on your side and acknowledging His presence and thanking him is a gift.