I love the poem Footprints in the Sand. While I do believe in God, I also believe that the poem can be read and appreciated by non-believers too. Especially when read in the light of any higher power looking out for us in some way.
When prayers seem to go unanswered
The poem helped me greatly on my journey. Throughout my illness, many friends reached out and said that they were praying for me or thinking of me, something which always touched me and which I really appreciated.
And yet for quite a while things seemed to mostly go on in the same, difficult way. Some of those closest to me questioned how this could be possible. How all those people’s prayers seemed to be going unanswered.
But one thing my journey taught me is that many times it’s actually harder for the people who love you than it is for yourself.
And so when they questioned those seemingly unanswered prayers, I always thought about the poem Footprints in the Sand. And I knew that God (or you could think about it as some higher power if you don’t believe in God) was definitely looking out for me.
Learning to appreciate the blessings in life
All I needed to do was look around me. Small blessings, like the fact that the winter I was ill we enjoyed so many beautiful days of sunshine in Malta. Quite the opposite of the previous winter, when most days were cold, wet and windy. This mild winter made it possible for me to really enjoy daily, healing walks with my loved ones, especially my ever-supportive mother, in the countryside.
And bigger blessings too. Like the fact that I was given so much support by everyone around me. I’ve heard so many sad stories of people who aren’t half as lucky as me. People with similar health conditions whose partners, family members or friends don’t believe them, label them crazy or refuse to make the (at times very difficult) changes to support them.
A gift to offer comfort to anyone passing through a difficult time
So all in all, even though the journey was hard at times, the poem Footprints in the Sand always made it a little bit easier. Today for the first time I read about the poem’s origin and it really moved me. It was written by a young girl, Mary Stevenson, in around 1936 and distributed by Mary to those who needed something to give them comfort at a low point in their lives.
I wonder whether Mary realised that all these years later it would still give people like me so much comfort. And so here it is in full. May it give you comfort if you or any of your loved ones are at a low point in your lives.
Footprints in the Sand
One night I dreamed a dream.
As 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.
After the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,
especially at the very lowest and saddest times,
there was only one set of footprints.
This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.
"Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,
You'd walk with me all the way.
But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why, when I needed You the most, You would 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."
- by Mary Stevenson
Question: Have you had a moment in your life when you felt alone but eventually realised that you were more blessed than you initially thought? Let me know by leaving a comment below.
PS – Should you wish, you can read more about my health journey here. If you want to know more, you can subscribe to receive updates via email at the top of this page. You can also contact me via e-mail or follow me on Facebook.