As I’ve done hundreds of times, I stepped out of the shower the other day and quickly jumped onto the soft rug in front of the sink. Have you ever noticed that even on the hottest of days, the bathroom floor is always cold? Well, on this particular day I guess I wasn’t quick to the rug and one foot left a footprint on the tiled floor. I usually wouldn’t stare at the ghost-like imprint but this one evaporated slowly and got me thinking about ‘Footprints’…those acts, words and gestures that have been left on my heart by others that either made me feel good for that moment in time or impacted my life…for the better.

The story “Footprints in the Sand” is a popular allegorical religious poem that describes a person, walking on a beach, sees two pair of footprints in the sand, one of which belonged to the person and the other to God. At some point the two pair of footprints dwindle to one symbolizing God carrying the person during the saddest and most troublesome times.

This story always makes me think of those who have ‘carried’ me throughout my life during times, I believed, I couldn’t raise my foot once again. The list is lengthy – my parents, my friends, strangers, and of course, my husband. They, nor I, probably didn’t realize during those times, that they were carrying the lion’s share of my load enabling me to, once again, step onto the sand and continue. They were just doing what was called for at that moment – supporting, encouraging, cheerleading, sympathizing and even giving me the proverbial ‘kick in the butt’.

‘Footprints’ come in all sizes and can be left EVERYDAY. Small ‘Footprints’ such as a smile, a greeting, holding the door for someone, doing a chore your spouse hates to do, saying something nice about a person who is being gossiped about, leaving a generous tip and a nice note on the receipt, sending someone flowers for no reason, complimenting someone – even a stranger, calling that friend you’ve lost touch with, donating books to libraries or hospitals, letting someone check out before you in the grocery store line, checking in on elderly neighbors, telling someone that you love them, may seem inconsequential to you however, it might be ‘just what the doctor ordered’ or a life changer for someone else.

Large ‘Footprints’ may take a little more time and energy but carry with them the same impact. Consider donating blood, sending a care package to a service person, forgiving someone a hurt and most important forgetting it, listening to someone who’s struggling – offering advice only if they ask, cooking a meal or baked goods for a shut-in neighbor, becoming an organ donor, volunteering, feeding an expired parking meter, telling someone that you love them in a hand-written note – grandkids love this, doubling your donation to your favorite cause and many other gestures and acts…just think outside your box of kindness.

Finally, a most important ‘Footprint’ – from time to time, allow others to ‘carry’ you. Accept their words, gestures and actions with the same depth of love by which it is given.

“Life is not all about the steps you have taken, or the places you have been to, but it is about the footprints you leave behind.”                                     A Beautiful Mess

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