A mile and I
Happy Thursday friends.
Thanks for meeting me back here and a big thank you to the three and a half of you who think I may someday have a lucrative sweatshirt designing business.
I'll keep you three and a half posted.
The kids are schooling "off site" so I can sit, unmasked on my own couch and send some encouragement out to you all- thanks to a very dear husband.
And enjoy some chocolate covered almonds with no one asking for all of them, and they may or may not be the very ones that I just gave to said husband for his birthday on Tuesday.
So I'm hitting the keys with my new fake nails that were $3.99 at TJMAXX.
Sure I had to cut them down a good bit and my pinky might not hold on for dear life, but they make me feel lovely and press-on nails are making a comeback so I'm pretty AND trendy.
Friendly PSA: Whatever you do today, be sure to do something that makes you feel lovely.
I can name a hundred things but lipgloss is always tops the list.
With so much pulling in so many directions, find something to feel lovely.
The sun is gleaming off snow in the front yard and I am itching for another walk this week.
My watch reminds this old body that it used to take a LOT more walks before the snow began to fly.
Anyone else feel like Christmas comes and just sweeps you off your feet AND schedule?
Now that school is back in session and we have completed all of the pages with holly-leaf boarder signifying that we are indeed actually on target to finish well this year, I need to get out and walk more.
When I walk, when I step out of my front door and just go, I am amazed how small I begin to feel and I absolutely love every inch of it.
Under this roof I have to be large and in charge and it can be suffocating at times.
Breaks under bright blue skies remind me that though I am in charge of some things I am not in charge of all things.
It helps me put myself back in line under One who holds everything together without my meal plans.
I LOVE the crunch of snow underfoot and the realization that I would much rather be cold working to warm up then be flushed in heat for the rest of the day.
And as I walked yesterday I noticed all the footprints below me.
Some small, some large, some going this way and that, some with huge strides and some petite feet.
And these footprints got me thinking about a poem a friend asked me about.
Me, being the knower of all things poetry, right?
It happened to be a poem I DID know the ins and outs of and memorized in high school.
A Psalm of Life
BY HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW Tell me not, in mournful numbers, Life is but an empty dream! For the soul is dead that slumbers, And things are not what they seem. Life is real! Life is earnest! And the grave is not its goal; Dust thou art, to dust returnest, Was not spoken of the soul. Not enjoyment, and not sorrow, Is our destined end or way; But to act, that each to-morrow Find us farther than to-day. Art is long, and Time is fleeting, And our hearts, though stout and brave, Still, like muffled drums, are beating Funeral marches to the grave. In the world’s broad field of battle, In the bivouac of Life, Be not like dumb, driven cattle! Be a hero in the strife! Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant! Let the dead Past bury its dead! Act,— act in the living Present! Heart within, and God o’erhead! Lives of great men all remind us We can make our lives sublime, And, departing, leave behind us Footprints on the sands of time;
Footprints, that perhaps another, Sailing o’er life’s solemn main, A forlorn and shipwrecked brother, Seeing, shall take heart again.
Let us, then, be up and doing, With a heart for any fate; Still achieving, still pursuing, Learn to labor and to wait.
Isn't it a breath of fresh air?
And here's the part that gave her question:
"Lives of great men all remind us We can make our lives sublime, And, departing, leave behind us Footprints on the sands of time; Footprints, that perhaps another, Sailing o’er life’s solemn main, A forlorn and shipwrecked brother, Seeing, shall take heart again."
And here were her honest questions, "Won't sand wash away footprints? And if this one is a sailor, doesn't he know where to go?"
This friend of mine is heading into high school and these were good questions. Questions that made my poetry loving heart glad that she didn't just give this poem the once over for school's sake and move on. She leaned in with a few great "Why's?"
I thought over again my response to her while I headed back to my car at the end of my walking trail.
I told her that If these footprints mentioned were intended to be seen then the person coming after them must have been pretty close.
Time wouldn't have washed them away before someone needed to see them.
I then told her that even sailors can get lost and tossed about in a storm and become shipwrecked.
With a twinkle in my eye I sat and told her that her footsteps mattered. This poem was reminding her that many are coming after her. Some weak, some weary and broken who will see her prints, her life and will decide that they can carry on.
And as fast as you can say "Spizzerinctum," she thanked me and ran off to play a game with a fury of kids.
And I was left holding her literature book and thanking the Lord for such a poem and for the love of such a poem.
A love that makes my heart leap for joy when biblical truth and prose meet for coffee.
This poem then reminded me of another that fell on the heels of watching her off to join a group of crazy teens.
A poem that is one of THREE that I keep under my hat because I reach for the kleenex every.single.time. I read them. Even silently to myself.
(Side note: My Grandparents were very old by the time I came along, and as a pesky little kid I realized that a particular song about a family pet tragically dying always brought my sweet Grandma DeLeon to tears. I only knew the first line of the song and she finally called me out as I began to croon and could make it through that first line before sobbing... I am now the crier much younger than she was, and no, I don't ever want my kids to recite this to me. Sorry Grandma.)
It's called, "The Bridge Builder.”
By Will Allen Dromgoole
(And yes, His name is a good snicker too!)
An old man, going a lone highway, Came at the evening, cold and gray, To a chasm, vast and deep and wide, Through which was flowing a sullen tide. The old man crossed in the twilight dim; The sullen stream had no fears for him; But he turned when safe on the other side And built a bridge to span the tide.
“Old man,” said a fellow pilgrim near, “You are wasting strength with building here; Your journey will end with the ending day; You never again must pass this way; You have crossed the chasm, deep and wide— Why build you the bridge at the eventide?”
The builder lifted his old gray head: “Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said, “There followeth after me today A youth whose feet must pass this way. This chasm that has been naught to me To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be. He, too, must cross in the twilight dim; Good friend, I am building the bridge for him.”
I thought of my friend off to chat and reminded myself that I am doing what I am doing for her. For heaps and heaps of "Hers."
My kids are watching me. The unsaved world is watching me. Brothers and Sisters in Christ are watching me.
Someone will need my footsteps to get through a tricky time of discouragement.
Someone will head into ministry with kids and burdens and feel the growing pains of marriage and need a bridge over a deadly chasm.
Someone will have a little talent hidden under her busyness and need a path to bring it to be useful.
So many someones will need MY footprints and YOUR footprints heading into the right direction.
I tried just for fun to walk in someone else's footprints in the snow on my walk, but I found that their stride was too wide or their gait too sporadic to keep up with.
Try as we might, we can never manage to "Walk a mile in another man's shoes."
First of all that would be awful burdensome. My size 6 1/2 feet would rattle around in something bigger making it unproductive. Shoes certainly aren't "One Size fits all."
Secondly, even walking in someone's shoes doesn't make you them.
You don't understand their deep thoughts and feelings, their struggles and the way they come to sift them all out.
We can only walk beside them in our own shoes.
Our footprints and those on the trail yesterday weren't there to walk IN, they were there to follow alongside.
They were there to remind me where the path was and how to get back home again.
Yesterday I found a fresh spot of snow and used it to see what my own prints looked like to someone coming behind.
It's frankly almost terrifying to remember that people, our little people, are following us.
They are watching us on the Bible app.
They notice if you keep your husband's socks off the floor and his coffee warmed.
They know if you love being with God's people or hide for the fear of being too much or not enough.
They see you rejoice in who God made you to be, down to that one stubborn curl or they see you grasp someone else as a model of who you should become.
Here's the thing. I cannot grant my kids grace.
I can only show them where to find it and that when I have most needed it, there was a storehouse full-to-the-brim to draw from.
Reading again of that faint brother or sister seeing my footsteps and taking heart propels me onward.
To keep a straight path to follow, and to keep press-on nails clickity clacking on keys to help one take heart again.