Last 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 belonged to me, the other to the Lord.
After the last scene of my life flashed before me, I looked back at the footprints in the sand. I noticed that at many times along the path of my life, especially at the very lowest and saddest times, there was only one set of footprints.
This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it. "Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you, You would walk with me all the way. But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life, there was only one set of footprints. I don't understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me."
The Lord replied, "My son, my precious child, I felt like you needed a little pick-me-up. So I went to buy you a Slushee from the vendor on the boardwalk. But I came back. I mean, look further down the beach -- there are two sets of footprints."
I hate to say it, but I didn't buy it. Something about the way the Lord spoke -- a certain shiftiness in His gaze -- made me suspicious.
And besides, as I told him, "I don't remember any Slushee."
"Or I got you an ice cream bar, or something," He said, hurriedly.
"But if you keep following the footprints," I said, "down there, past the jetty, there’s only one set of footprints again."
"Where?" the Lord said -- to buy time, I think.
"Down by that woman in the red bathing suit. Eating the sandwich."
"That looks like a good sandwich," said the Lord.
"There’s no ice cream vendor down there. So where did You go? I remember feeling especially bummed at that point in the journey of my life. Why is there only one set of footprints?"
"I was -- I was levitating," said the Lord. "I was floating beside you."
I looked at the pathetic set of footprints. "Sorry, Lord, I don’t remember that, either."
The Lord took a deep breath. "Okay, to be honest, you can be a real drag sometimes. And you tend to store up these little slights, and harbor them like some squirrel with his nuts -- and when you don't get your way you dig up these slights and bombard people with them. Me, your various boyfriends, your family. It's a tendency with you I’ve noticed for a long time, and I need to call you on it. I clearly remember the day we walked past that woman in the red bathing suit, and I wasn't having it. You were ranting about how you didn't get mentioned in some review of a production of Avenue Q: School Edition in Nebraska and there was a hurricane-ravaged coastal city suffering at the same time, and I thought it was a ridiculous waste of time to be there walking beside you. I was tired of feeding your narcissism, frankly, and I needed some time for Me."
I was ashamed. "Forgive me, Lord."
"But look further, my son," He said, "I walked beside you when your family dog Drummond died."
I scanned the beach. "Where was that, Lord, in the journey of my life?"
"Down by the guy with the cooler, selling the beer."
Now I remembered. The Lord was especially comforting that day.
"And when you broke into your ex's Gmail account to read his emails and he was making fun of your receding hairline -- see? My footprints are right there," said the Lord. "And I was there when you had that corn on your foot, remember?"
"That was a bad corn. I almost needed surgery for that."
"My blessed, precious child, when you had that corn, if you look, you can see only one set of footprints. For it was then that I carried you."