“Lives of great men all remind us;
we can make our lives sublime,
and, departing, leave behind us,
footprints on the sands of time.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
These words from Longfellow’s Psalm of Life remind us that as we approach the New Year it is a time to think about our footprints…the ones we have left behind us and the one’s we will be making in the future.
What do our footprints say? What do we want them to say?
Emerson wrote that as a person chooses, so they are. Our choices define us. They are our footprints on the sands of time. We need to reflect upon the footprints we have left behind in 2010. What do they say about us as a Catholic Christian, as a wife or a husband, as a priest, as a parent, as a son or a daughter, as a member of our community?
Our footprints are much more public today than they used to be. We find them all over the Internet on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube. If we Google our own name, we may be surprised at the footprints we find there. Today our footprints are almost impossible to hide.
We can’t change those footprints that we have left behind, but we can decide on what our footprints will be in the future. What footprints do we want to make in 2011? Of course there are grandiose things we hope to accomplish, but it is important that the footprints we decide we want to leave behind next year should be simple and achievable.
Let us challenge ourselves. It won’t be easy for as St. Paul reminds us in Romans 7, we often know what we want to do but end up doing something else. Longfellow also tells us of how our footprints affect others.
“Footprints, that perhaps another,
sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
a forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
seeing, shall take heart again.”
My prayer for you and your families is that you will have a blessed and happy 2011 and make lots of wonderful footprints.