I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord, and Across the sky flashed scenes from my life. For each scene I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand; One belonged to me, and the other to the Lord. When the last scene of my life flashed before us, I looked back at the footprints in the sand. I noticed that many times along the path of my life, There was only one set of footprints.
I also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in my life This really bothered me, and I questioned the Lord about it. “Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you, You would 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 in times when I needed you the most, you should leave me.
The Lord replied, “My precious, precious child. I love you, and I would never, never leave you during your times of trial and suffering. When you saw only one set of footprints, It was then that I carried you.
Jalāl al-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī aka Rumi was a 13th-century Persian poet whose poems I have found to be deeply insightful and inspiring. Here is a recitation of Rumi’s poem “Love Dogs” recited by American poet and popular interpreter of Rumi, Coleman Barks at a Mythic Journeys conference.
The Serenity Prayer is a prayer often attributed to American theologian Reinhold Neibuhr. The prayer has since been adopted and popularized by Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step programs. The prayer is one of my favourite prayers to ruminate on during trying times. We live in a world of cacaphonous noise, unending anxiety from a looming, somewhat inevitable world war, a world where whatever can go wrong would eventually go wrong (Murphy’s Law).
English poet Charles Tomlinson starts the “Swimming Chenango Lake: Selected Poems” with reference to his work “The Way of a World (1969)”. The Prologue “Swimming Chenango Lake” is an ode to swimming. It reads
If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don’t hesitate. Give in to it. There are plenty of lives and whole towns destroyed or about to be. We are not wise, and not very often kind. And much can never be redeemed.
My object in living is to unite My avocation and my vocation As my two eyes make one in sight. Only where love and need are one, And the work is play for mortal stakes, Is the deed ever really done For heaven and the future’s sakes.
Out of the mud two strangers came And caught me splitting wood in the yard, And one of them put me off my aim By hailing cheerily “Hit them hard!” I knew pretty well why he dropped behind And let the other go on a way.
I knew pretty well what he had in mind: He wanted to take my job for pay. Good blocks of beech it was I split, As large around as the chopping block; And every piece I squarely hit Fell splinterless as a cloven rock.
Figure it out for yourself, my lad, You’ve all that the greatest of men have had, Two arms, two hands, two legs, two eyes, And a brain to use if you would be wise. With this equipment they all began, So start for the top and say “I can.”
This life is a wonderful gift .. accept it, embrace it. It starts with a new day .. wake up and greet it. Life is a challenge .. take it head on and meet it. Full of opportunity .. use it, don’t waste it.
This life is a mystery .. unfold it, solve it. It starts with meaning .. wake up and understand it. Life is a goal .. take it head on and achieve it. Full of promise .. fulfill it but keep it.
This life is a tragedy .. face it, accept it. It starts with pain .. wake up and help numb it. Life is a struggle .. take it head on and fight it. Full of sorrow .. sorry, just overcome it.
This life is precious .. hold it, treasure it, It starts with hope .. wake up and feel it. Life is a choice .. take it head on and make it. Full of knowledge .. use it, don’t abuse it.
This life is adventurous .. enjoy it, explore it. It starts with a duty .. wake up and perform it. Life is love .. take it full on and love it. Full of beauty .. praise it and behold it.
That life is life .. live it, learn and grow Life is good .. be good with all that you know.