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 belonged 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 at 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 the 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.”
The year I lived with my grandmother she had this poem, so famously printed over surf and sand, hanging in the one place where everyone in the house would see it, the restroom. Everyone went there and everyone read it before they left the room. It was a constant reminder for our day to day lives.
When I came back home to Texas this poem followed me. My mother had a copy of the same picture hanging in our restroom. Bookmarks of it were everywhere and I had one as well. Every time I would read it, I would think of my grandmother and all that she taught me.
But just like footprints in the sand, the surf of time would slowly erase the prints. This happened when my grandmother took her last breath.
I was not fortunate enough to spend as much time with my grandmother as some of my other cousins did but I can recall all the time that I did. There was so much strength, so much wisdom in this tiny lady, and she shared it with everyone.
Discipline was never lacking in my family. Whoppins and scoldings were plenty. Even at the end of her life I witnessed this when she was talking to one of my cousins. That fire burned bright when she scolded her for picking on her younger brother. I smiled and laughed and that fire was directed at me for laughing at my cousin, burning me like when I was a teen, but this time I was grateful for it.
“I’m sorry grandma,” was my reflex response, but the reason for my sorrow was not what it once would have been. I was sorry for I knew I would never hear those scoldings words of wisdom again. I just stood up from the table, gathered the dirty dishes and gave her a kiss on her cheek before heading to the kitchen sink.
I can remember ever whoopin I received from her. Every spoon, every flip flop, and every switch beating I took for my misactions. Every scolding that followed those disciplines. I may have been a large young man, but I was never too old to be whooped, as long as she had the strength to do it.
At the time each discipline had always been filled me with fear. Now, I smile and laugh as I can feel my grandmother’s warmth and love with each stroke of discipline.
Now I know that when times are hard, when the floodgates of grief open up over missing her wash over me, I can read this poem and know she is with me. Her footprints will always be with me.