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In preparation for my weekend at St. Christopher's, Springfield at the end of this month, I've uncovered some spiritual autobiography work I did for my Education For Ministry (EFM) class back in 1988.  Like any resume, it needs some a lot of updating to bring it current. 

For the better part of Saturday & Sunday, January 27th-28th, I'll be a "guest seeker" working with a newly forming group at St. Christopher's.  The Diocese of Virginia is nurturing a new "Listening Hearts" discernment process modeled from the Quaker tradition using silence, prayerful listening, and the convergence of consensus to help someone discern a path and action through the transition of life.  St. C's has one of their own they're working with; I'm their "guinea pig" to help them better understand the process before they commence their work in earnest. 

The poem by Mary Stevenson of "Footprints in the Sand" has always been a real powerful image for me in my walk with Christ.  I used it as the framework for my earlier spiritual autobiography work.  I'm sure I'll keep it for my new work now.  Y'all know Footprints, but I'll share it here anyway... for me and for you:

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 in the sand,
is when I carried you.”

Mary Stevenson

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Jan. 20th, 2007 03:29 pm (UTC)
Poem
As a chaplain I've heard this so many times over the years! When I was young and callow I felt annoyed and sometimes embarrassed: the poem is so very sentimental! And, for those who taught me in seminary, "sentimental" was a bad thing.

Of course, over the years I've learned. Often enough I've seen this true for patients. Often enough I've found it true for me. Yeah, it's still sentimental; and sometimes sentimental is distracting at best. However, sometime's it's the best understanding of how we (I, anyone) got through the current crisis.

Thanks for looking in at "Episcopal Chaplain at the Bedside." Thanks for your support and prayers as well.

Marshall Scott
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )