Storytelling (Footprints)

Rolled a Story Cube and got a footprint, which made me think of that "inspirational" poem? Print? Short essay? Whatever you want to call it, entitled "Footprints." You know the one, it's on the wall of half the bathrooms in this country, next to a cross-stitch sampler or a print of a fern. 

It's about a guy (of course it's a guy) walking along the beach with Jesus, like you do, at the end of his life, and he's looking back over the beach, and at some points on the beach, there's only one set of footprints. And somehow the guy can tell where the rough patches in his life were - (How? Did the scenes from his life hover in the air above the beach like slides next to the corresponding dates on the timeline of footprints? How does this life-recollection technology work, anyway?) and he notices that all the difficult times in his life correspond with areas on the beach where there's only one set of footprints. And so the entitled douchebag gets mad that Jesus wasn't walking alongside him EVERY SECOND OF HIS LIFE and says something like, "Why, Lord? Why did you abandon me when I needed you most?" And Jesus, instead of saying, "Because you're an entitled douchebag," (because he's, you know, the Lord) says something along the lines of, "That, my son, was when I carried you." 

And I still remember reading that for the first time as a kid in someone's bathroom somewhere (it sure wasn't in ours), and being impressed with the end right away. Like, "Oooooh! Good twist!" And then later it occurred to me that perhaps this little storytelling twist was just that - storytelling. And what I (and perhaps others?) was mistaking for some kind of divine revelation from God was, in fact, just some damn fine storytelling, a cool twist thought up by a human brain. Like the end of The Sixth Sense. 

We love that moment of recognition, we love the sense of having to go back and re-think everything we think we know about what we've just read/watched and question it. But does that mean it's true and amazing? Or just some clever crafting invented in a storyteller's mind? Like St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York. Gorgeous and awe-inspiring and meant to invoke humbleness (humility, I guess that's called) in the presence of God. But actually imagined and planned and built by humans. What could be more human than a good bit of story craft?


Richmond, VA

Caroline is right this minute procrastinating on what she SHOULD be working on by submitting to Life In 10 Minutes.

Caroline HooverComment