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Sunday, April 18, 2021

Footprints On The Steps

I was out of water, running low on bananas and my song sheet supply was nearing depletion.  It was time to go home.  As I took one last glance around my surroundings on this warm sunny day, I was parked at East Indiana Street at Kensington Ave.  I saw April, dosing/dipping at the base of the steps that lead up the hill to the McPherson Branch of the Philadelphia Free Library.[1]  I knew I needed to go and offer all that I had left, a banana and a song sheet.

Instead, she gave me what she had left.  By the time I said "Goodbye" probably 30 minutes later, she had walked with me - no, led me - into the pure presence of God.  This moment was far better than any worship service I've ever attended - and that includes Easter at the National Cathedral!

As she dosed/dipped she began to read out loud from this song sheet, pausing only as the dip[2] did what it could to derail the moment.

She read:

Footprints In The Sand

One night I  had a dream. I dreamed

I was walking along the beach with the LORD.

Across the sky flashed scenes from my life.

For each scene, I noticed two sets of 

footprints in the sand: one belonging

to me, and the other to the LORD.

When the last scene of my life

flashed before me,
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 of my life.

This really bothered me and so I
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 child, my 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."

Author: Carolyn Joyce Carty

And then she continued to read and concluded with this final blessing to and of herself:

I am an inspirational human being made in the image of God

and I am worthy of dignity, honor, respect and love.

No time of worship in any church could ever begin to compare to the Glory in this moment.  This woman who, undoubtedly had been on multiple "dates" in the last 24 hours,[3] consumed heroin - or whatever it is these days - been under-fed, under-housed and now exhausted on these steps read to herself about a God who she may or may not know.  That reading, completed by her own determination planted a seed of Heavenly Fatherly Love within her soul. 

I said "Goodbye.  Be safe."  She drowsily thanked me and fell asleep right there on those steps.  One banana served as a paperweight for her printed and divinely read poem.

Footprints on the Steps

[2] A behavior associated with current drug use… Part of the experience of being high.

[3] Times all the days, weeks, months, and maybe years that she's been out there

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