Footprints. (My version.)

by K.W. Leslie, 23 January

How I deal with cheesy stuff is to write some of my own.

You might’ve heard of the “Footprints” or “Footprints in the Sand” story, which Christians tend to be overly fond of. Don’t know who wrote it; it arose at some point in the 20th century. Usually it’s printed on a photo of a beach, and sold, framed and unframed, in Christian bookstores.

The general idea is this: The poet dreams he and Jesus have been walking through life, and during life’s rough patches Jesus carried the poet through it. Yet for some reason the poet was totally unaware of this, and accused Jesus of abandoning him, ’cause the poet’s an ungrateful, inattentive dick, and a bad Christian.

…Well okay, people never notice that aspect of the story. But anyway.

“Footprints” is popular, and so many Christians find it inspiring, you wind up seeing it way too often. I do, anyway. For a while there in the 1980s, I think it was mandatory to hang a copy of it in every church’s youth room. As soon as the internet became widely available, people were forwarding it to one another as if it were part of a chain letter which they dared not break. It’s everywhere.

My way of dealing with such things? Make fun of ’em. Write my own version of it.

Mine rhymes.

I don’t remember often what I dreamed,
But once, I dreamt I stood upon the shore
and Jesus stood there with me, so it seemed.
Just like that cheesy “Footprints” poem. For
along the beach, the footprints trail’d behind,
but in my dream, I only saw my own.
I saw not Jesus’s. It blew my mind.
I thought for sure I did not walk alone.
“You didn’t,” said my Lord, “but looky here.”
And then I realized: I stood on sand;
I’d gone through life with Jesus always near.
But Jesus stood on water, not on land.
He pointed further out into the sea:
“That’s where I really want to go. But till
you overcome your fears and follow me,
we’ll have to stick to land.” —I’m on land still.

—K.W. Leslie, 14 September 2013