One night I dreamed a dream. Because the only other option is a nightmare. Just throwing that out there. As I was walking along the beach with my Lord, scenes from my life flashed across the dark sky. Many of them horrifically embarrassing. Who got to pick all these moments for everyone in the world to see? I wasn’t even wearing pants in a third of them. As we walked, God asked, “What are we doing here? Life isn’t a beach. You’ve been hearing it wrong, Jake. Or hearing what you want to. If we’re going for metaphors for life, this isn’t the place.”
I shrugged and replied, “God, this is a dream. I can’t control this stuff.”
In every scene, there was only one set of footprints. During the best times, during the worst, all of 2008 and last week- only one person’s footprints in the sand. This really annoyed me, so I asked the Lord about it. “Lord, you said once I decided to follow you, you’d walk with me all the way. So why is there always only one set of footprints representing my whole life? I feel slightly ripped off and I clearly have the guts to say something about it to the Almighty Creator of the Universe.”
We continued to walk for a while before he answered. He whispered to me, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you. I do what I want. Did you pay attention to how big those footprints are? Obviously, they aren’t yours. I’ve been carrying your fat this entire time. I’m doing it right now! And let’s get real; I’ve carried you through some real stuff. The situations you humans get yourselves into? I’m shaking my head. And I carry you through all of it. I wish you were making for the beaches, but you aren’t. You humans all make terrible decisions, because Adam messed it all up. Remember that in the Bible? That isn’t just a fun story thrown in there for no reason. There will always only be one set of footprints and don’t you forget it.”
By the time the Lord had finished telling me this, he was no longer whispering. It was terrifying enough that I jolted awake. I blinked several times. Darkness. I listened, hearing only the hum of appliances from my kitchen. It was the middle of the night. In that darkness and silence, I heard a still, small voice say to me, “Remember. One, big set of footprints. Now- back to sleep, my precious.” I complied.
★ ★ ★
Footprints in the Sand is a terrible poem. It’s poorly written, sentimental and has bad theology. The beginning line, “… I dreamed a dream” is redundant, like I walked a walk I danced a dance, chanted a chant. This kind of phraseology works really well with bathroom humor, but we don’t actually need to go there. I guess poetry can contain strange structures like that. Still not a fan.
Theologically, I take issue with there being two sets of prints at any point, because as I’ve written before, I ascribe to a notion of low anthropology- that is, we’re not good at life. Anything in the recent news should be able to convince you of that. I write about this stuff with little generosity because I absolutely believe it.
Maybe I’m grumpy. (Always). I’m hoping to be writing much more than I have during the past year because I took a huge test last week. If I pass, I’ll be an ordained reverend in the Anglican Church. If I don’t, then I’ll have to get back to studying. I’m sure I’ll write something about it when it happens.