I grew up in a fairly conservative environment where Christian messaging was as common and seamlessly a part of this American life as the cadre of celebrity self-help gurus are today.   (Along with the Boy Scouts, Vacation Bible School, the Super Friends cartoon hour on ABC Saturday morning, and a couple of schoolyard brawls, I credit that upbringing with instilling me with a strong moral code and a sense of social responsibility.)

Hanging at one end of the hallway of my childhood home was a poem called “Footprints in the Sand” which my mother had spent hours cross-stitching onto muslin.  The task was as  much a form of prayer and meditation as anything.

I was reminded of the poem one recent weekend.

Having been bombarded with one heavy snowfall after the next, we had little opportunity on the weekends–when Josh is at the farm–to take our customary walks around the property.  Aside from being a good source of exercise during an otherwise housebound winter, these walks often give us the time to sort out personal issues without the distractions that accompany running a farm and a start-up company.

“I’m right”

“No, I’M right”

Resolutions of these sorts of arguments never come easily or quickly.  Ultimately one person has to be “right”… and the wise one is not always the same.

As we finished up the hour-long walk–filled with discussions of various levels of intensity, I looked back at the trail we had left in the snow.

One set of foot-prints.

And it struck me.

Sometimes in life the trip is more pleasant when walking side x side.

But certain parts of the journey are easier if one person leads and the other steps in his footprints.

Footprints in the Sand

One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.
Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.
Sometimes there were two sets of footprints,
other times there were one set of footprints.

This bothered me because I noticed
that during the low periods of my life,
when I was suffering from
anguish, sorrow or defeat,
I could see only one set of footprints.

So I said to the Lord,
“You promised me Lord,
that if I followed you,
you would walk with me always.
But I have noticed that during
the most trying periods of my life
there have only been one
set of footprints in the sand.
Why, when I needed you most,
you have not been there for me?”

The Lord replied,
“The times when you have
seen only one set of footprints,
is when I carried you.”


-Mary Stevenson

Who’s helped you in your journey.  Tell them ‘thank you’ in the comments section below.

by Dr. Brent

Reader Comments

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Connie Wedding

I mainly thank God and my son who have given me the strength to go on through many hard and trying times, with more to come. Without hope, we lose the will to try.

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Mojilene Marquez- Bu

Such a heartfelt blog, Dr. Brent, thank you!

I am a Filipino, too, born in the Philippines, and it's nice to know that there are other Filipinos who loves your show and everything that you guys do in Sharon Spring. I sure hope so that one day you could visit our country and meet our hardworking farmers. Without our great farmers, we would not have healthy vegetables and meat to enjoy in our daily meals.

http://www.google.com/search?q=philippine+tourist

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Donna Hoerning

You are amazing, so true and a great reminder of a poem that means so much. Both of my parents passed within a week of each other this passed February, waves of grieve and waves of sweet memories have both been present. But my wonderful husband of 41 years and I have walked the path together and are blessed. I love reading and hearing about the farm If I weren't in California I would be running to the Harvest Festival. Just looking at the pictures of the farm and of course my favorite Polka Spot make me take a deep breath and I can smell the fresh air. You guys are a blessing and a gift! Keep letting us watch. Sooo Fun!

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Dragana

Thank you my cousins who helped me through college and continue to help me through parenthood.

And thank you guys for bringing the real simple life to the TV.

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Kate

Thank you both, you give me something to look forward to weekly, you make me smile!

please do season 3

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Sandy

This is one of my favorite poems,too. The Serenity Prayer is also comforting. My husband and I take turns leading. Thats a good thing. There have been a few times when I should have been following his footsteps in the snow and didn't. Ended up in snow up to my hips with 2 buckets of milk for the baby calves. Didn't spill any though. Sandy

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Kristen

Beautiful. I have always loved that poem. I had that poem read at my wedding. Very meaningful words.

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Donna Pittman

I grew up in the South as part of a pretty typical "first generation off the farm" family. The one thing that made our family stand out was that my oldest Brother had Down Syndrome. As a child I never really understood how challenging raising a special needs child was; I just knew that my parents loved all four of us. In 2003, we received the news all parents dread… Our beautiful two and a half year old son was diagnosed with Autism and Mental Retardation. It is hard to explain how you feel at a moment like that; people who haven't experienced it don't understand, but my Parents did. I felt like we were following in their "footsteps", and it has helped make this journey more bearable. I will never be able to repay the debt.

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vickii welch

i've had this poem on the wall in my kichen for over 20 years, always liked it. there's also one about everything i need to know i learned in kindergarten. those 2 poems pretty well sum up life.

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Barb

My 25 year old nephew had the WHOLE poem tattooed on his arm. He was in a horrific car crash and passed away. His death absolutely devastated his mother, (my sister) and the rest of our large family. I think about him all the time, and as I look back on the few years since his death, those footprints are very, very deep with the weight of my entire family, but they are still just one set. Thank you for reminding me of the simple beauty of those words.

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