They had a civilization…a way of life…a culture they held dear…this land was sacred to them…they buried their ancestors here.


When we didn’t understand their civilization…their culture…how they talked, lived, danced or prayed…we called them wild…we called them savages…and then we took their lands and their culture away.


We brought them over in chains on ships across the seas…We took them from their lands, their homes…we stole them from their families.

We did not like their color…didn’t understand they could be proud or noble or brave…We called them less than human…and we turned them into slaves.


We have treated many people shamefully in this country…women, LGBTQ+, Japanese, Muslims can be added to the list…and I’m sure there are some groups or individuals I probably have missed.


There are only two reasons for treating another human being…in a way that’s so unfair…either we didn’t know any better…or, perhaps, we just didn’t care.


Neither reason is a good one…never…never….never

For the shadows or our inhumanity will stay with them…forever..


Because whenever we do an injustice to another person…cause their harm;…their pain…their dying…the spirits of those we hurt will never stop their crying.


Oh, how I wish we could change all this…to have life put on the breaks…so we could go back tin time and reverse our horrible mistakes.


But no matter how many times we’ve hoped or or wished or got on our knees and prayed…we cannot erase the footprints we’ve already made.


But we can take a close look at those footprints… at the pain they caused…the shock

and try to be more careful in the future as to where and how we walk.



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On a recent walk along the beach…where the ocean meets the land

what captured my attention were all the footprints in the sand.


We watched sandpipers darting to and fro 

tiptoeing between the water and the land

pursuing their next meal…leaving tiny footprints in the sand.


We saw people walking, families playing, children making castles with their hands.

while others laughed, or ran, or skipped…leaving footprints in the sand.


It wasn’t just how many there were…spreading out across the land

It was also the diversity…of those footprints in the sand.


I kept wondering…were they young or old…

gay or straight

black or white…

was it a woman or a man

who walked this beach before us and left these footprints in the sand?


As you walk along the beach you feel a harmony 

with the sky…the sea…the land…

and that day I felt that same harmony with those footprints in the sand.


And I had to smile as we walked…thinking…wouldn’t it be grand…

if the only way to judge a person…was by their footprints in the sand?


Would there be prejudice and bigotry?

Would people be ridiculed…or banned

If the only way to judge them was from their footprints in the sand?


And I wondered if we should all be more like sandpipers

who, as they scamper, dash and stand,

tread softly 

and live in harmony…

while making footprints in the sand.


Who understand the key to life

is to live nobly

and dignified

and grand…

before our time is up 

and the tide washes away


our footprints in the sand.

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Her father was a gardener his shoes were never clean

They were always brown and dirty…which helped his thumbs stay green.


She remembers watching him with his plants…she remembers being amused

Sometimes all she saw of him was the bottom of his shoes.


He could grow anything he put his mind to…flowers…vegetables…fruits…

and as each new growing season awakened he’d slip on his old boots.


She asked him once why wear those old shoes…why not get something new…

He smiled and said, “Their comfortable and I trust them.” 

and she thought…they’re just like you.


She was cleaning out his workroom the summer after he died… 

deciding what to keep and what to lose…

when in the corner where he always left them…

she saw her dad’s old shoes.


She smiled, picked them up, held them close…

and when she lifted them…some dirt

from the bottom of her father’s shoes

had rubbed off on her shirt.


She keeps his old shoes as a reminder…

of a father who was wise and gentle and kind

and every time she holds them 


she thinks of the footprints he left behind.

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