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.
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…