by Fr Duncan McVicar on 23/01/2012 -
This is the true story behind the famous poem. Margaret’s boyfriend Paul proposed. While happy, she was hesitant. She and her boyfriend seemed so different. They decided to take a little walk along the beach to discuss marriage and its importance. When they reached the far end of the beach and were about to begin their return journey, Margaret glanced down and noticed that their footprints had washed out to the sea. Turning to Paul she said, ” Well, if our married life is to be like this, we don’t stand much of a chance.” Paul replied, “When things are tough for me, you will help me – and when things are tough for you, I’ll help you.” They continued walking, until Margaret glanced down again and saw that only one set of footprints had washed out to sea. Again, Margaret suggested that their life together didn’t appear to have much of a future. This time Paul responded by gently lifting her up in his arms and carrying her along the beach. Finally, he set her down and said, “Margaret, I want to impress upon you that when life is so bad that we can’t seem to help each other, God will carry us.” Then, pointing to the single set of footprints the two of them had just created, Paul added, “If you just looked at the set of tracks we just made, you couldn’t tell that I carried you – but I did.” Margaret found his words and the thoughts behind them very beautiful. that night she couldn’t sleep, so she got up and wrote these words; One night a man had a dream. He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the Lord. Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene, he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand; one belonging to him, and the other to the Lord. When the last scene of his life flashed before him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times of his life. This really bothered him and he questioned the Lord about it. “Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you, you’d walk with me all the way. But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why when I needed You most You would leave me.” The Lord replied, “My precious, precious child, I love you and I would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.” This beautiful piece, printed time and time again, has a love story all it’s own. She called the piece “Footprints” Today, “Footprints” is one of the most widely distributed inspirational pieces in existence. It can be found on plaques, cards and jewelry. Its power lies in its message – the message of the greatest love of all. And yes they did marry. Love – is an eternal source – Let the Good Lord carry you!
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