Falling Down

So many times in life we fail, we fall, we lie broken. Speaking metaphorically now. Lurchingly, we pick ourselves back up time after time, and stagger forward some more on our life’s trail. We then plod on till we again fall. Each time we have to pick ourselves up it’s a bit harder, more strenuous, and the subsequent steps we take become more and more faltering, tenuous. Often we find ourselves merely slogging forward in anticipation of slipping backward again. And the next time we fall….will that be the final fall? Will we finally not be able to rise again? Should we even bother if the scant progress we make is inevitably going to be interrupted and pushed back by our next fall? Are we accomplishing anything? What’s the point?

….I looked back at the footprints in the sand. I noticed that many times along the path of my life, there was only one set of footprints.

Well, no shit. Our path is ours alone, to walk or not to walk.  No one can carry you. No one can feel your feels for you. Get over yourself, and get on with yourself. Don’t get mesmerized by the goddamn footprints behind you. Keep moving forward. Reflect when you’re dead.

There is only one set of footprints. I don’t understand, Lord, why in times when I needed you most, you should leave me.

Fuck that. We all get left sometimes. What makes you so special, O Poet of Footprints? I got left by my father when I was two. Have no memory of him being my father. Just a guy I occasionally hung out with on the weekends. Somehow we keep walking, skipping, even jumping along our life’s trail. We just don’t know any better. If you really don’t feel like just punching your ticket into the next world (or lack of one), then what are you going to do? Should you decide to sit and rest on the trail, someone’s going to come along. Not to carry you, but to shove you to the side.

My precious, precious child….

This is supposed to be the Lord Jesus talking now.

…When you saw only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.

And what he says is bullshit. Or maybe, to pretty up the sentiment, I should put it this way:

Bullshit, my Lord.

Is he carrying the child in the Sudan who dies of hunger and thirst? Is he carrying the protester who gets gunned down by police? I think there’s some selective carrying going on here!

Who wrote the Footprints poem? (I mean, assuming Jesus didn’t write it,)  I’ve always felt like this masterwork was written by an anonymous hippie from the sixties who got “born again” when the drugs wore off.

Anyway, I’ve got a radical notion. When we fall into the morose morass, why not wallow in it? Soak it up. Times of torment and misery are some of the best times. We get stories out of it. We feel completely engaged in our circumstances when times are hard. We realize most people don’t have two fucks to give about anyone else. They’re probably suffering like we are. But it can be wonderfully liberating to suffer. (Only a little bit of suffering, though. Say the upper middle-class American brand of suffering.)  Sometimes, though, sufferers see no way out and choose a fatal solution.

Suicide is no solution. Don’t try suicide, dear readers.  One thing I know is that, while sadness lingers, suffering cannot. We’re not conditioned to stay in that state. So artists, get some material out of it while you can. Before that Jesus guy comes and carries you back into the blah blah blandness of normal life.

footprints in the sand

Is Jesus carrying that hot girl through troubled times? I think he might have just roofied her…


As I was finishing the edit of this piece, I found a site that states a claim of authorship of this fantastic poem. (Dig on the animated footprints!) The parts I quote above are slightly different from this “official” version. Like I give a fuck. I still kind of like my “anonymous hippie” theory…

21 thoughts on “Falling Down

    • Thanks! I actually intended to just make fun of the poem line by line, but my intentions morphed into something else. I don’t really mind christians, but pop christianity that isn’t attached to the real world or people’s actual feelings begs to be mocked…

  1. This is extremely well written and moving Dylan. I believe I’ll share it. Can I contact you by Facebook or email so we can talk about your blog sometime?

  2. Thanks for injecting humor into this and sharing a bit of yourself. I’ve never liked this poem. The thought of disembodied footprints walking beside us is pretty damn creepy, especially when it is snowing.

    That said, I’ve made a serious attempt and have been reckless to the point that I’m surprised I’m still here. When your time is up, it’s up…either that or god keeps saying, “I reject this transaction.” Nah.. 😉

    • I found myself getting all supportive and feely at the end and I swear I started out to just make fun of that awful fuckin poem. I just didn’t want folks to think I was making light of their problems. But I do advocate staring sometimes into the darkness, you know. Just don’t get sucked so far down you want to end your life. It’s a tough balance! I’ve personally never “officially” tried suicide but, like you, I went through a very reckless period where I felt like “eh, if I die, I die.” Since I don’t think there’s an afterlife, though, this is the only shot I get at life and I still got shit I want to do! So once in a while, I channel my inner Oprah or Rara and give myself a pep talk and I think anyone can do that when they learn the trick…

      • Rara is a sweetie and wise beyond her years! You are spot on that it is a delicate balance. Word purge does help, then it’s time to move forward. Thanks again, Dylan!

  3. Those footprints freaked me out! I like this post, that poem always bugged me too. I hope you’re ready for a barrage of comments from fanatical christians. You might know from my blog that I’m depressed, kind of a shut-in really. Anyway, thank goodness I’ve never considered suicide, I heard somewhere that it is a “permanent solution to a temporary problem”, I like that. Now if I could only get my butt out of this rut I’ve been in for so many years, I’m kind of getting sick of wallowing. Thanks for letting me rant 🙂

    • I don’t think I have enough readers yet to get a barrage of comments. But I’m ready for them! I do believe that while large problems don’t just “go away”, it’s not our natural state to stay mired in them. Life is designed to go on…

      • You are so right, we are not designed to stay mired in our probs. I guess that’s why we who do are called mentaly ill.

        • There’s still no sure fix for mental illness, and sometimes I’m not sure there should be since you can “fix” a person so much that they are hardly there anymore. But the stigma attached to mental illness is starting to lessen in the “normals” points of view. It seems less of a label now, yet we still have a ways to go. Understanding certainly helps. And fuck the “normals” anyway!

          • Hee hee, yes, fuck ’em! Sometimes I wish I could stop taking my meds, your comment about being “hardly there anymore” sounds just like my current condition. But then I remember the times when I got really manic and then really depressed, I don’t want to go back there. So we’re working on adjusting my meds to get the right balance. But in the meantime it’s fucking frustrating! Sorry to be spewing all this on you. Is it too much? I tend to ramble on…

  4. I’ve never heard this poem before. There’s always people who are around to knock you down, however different people seek comfort from the way they were bought up is good to me. I’ve not got a particularly religious family but they do live by a strong moral code and we are taught to support each other first. That’s why my brothers going to find out shortly I need to stay with him for a week in London in August today 😉

    • “Footprints” is peculiarly american. Paintings and books and all kinds of stuff are sold with this poem on them. I call it “pop christianity”. Marketable religion. I don’t think good morals come from religion, they come from what your parents teach you and from your own self. There are wonderful atheists and creepy christians and vice versa. Pagans are usually very nice people. Have fun in London! Go get a glimpse of that Windsor baby you all are so thrilled about…

      • I’ll be studying in London 😉 , the Windsor baby is very much low key over here. I’m not sure how it’s reported outside of the UK but most people just like the pomp and ceremony of big state occasions.

        Hope you’re feeling good 😉
        All the best

        • Our press was absolutely giddy over it, that’s why I kid you. We’ve got no room to talk. My mom teared up when the little prince was born. I wonder if some Americans actually don’t get more of a thrill out of the Windsors than you UK lot. You all probably take them for granted :-} Take care and best of luck, Charlotte! You’re doing great…

  5. Good critical observation. I agree that each person, as the poet, you must go ahead trying to not look at the tracks left, must superarce fingerprint fingerprint. Stand is more productive to think in the next footfall that look to the left that. I loved your blog entirely. I have a Blog too, but it is of poems and is also in Spanish, lol.
    Like, I will follow. Read it whenever i can.
    I leave you my own, for if one day you want to go.

      • Thanks Dylan! I appreciate that you’ve seen my Blog even if you do not understand much Spanish. I showed your blog to several friends and liked it a lot. We will be in touch. I will leave my footprint every time i can.
        A hug! Aris.
        P.D: Forgive me if i don’t write english correctly :b I will do my best effort jaja

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