Following in Footprints

I heard that story once. The one where the man dreams he’s walking along a beach, and is puzzled as to why there is only one set of footprints when God told him he’d always walk alongside him in the lowest points of his life. And then God told him that when there was only one set of footprints, he was carrying the man. It was a fairly young guy on a bus that told me, years ago. I never thought much of it. Beach. Footprints. God. Dream. Too much philosophy for me.
But now watching a young man carrying someone who looks old enough to be his father on a hot beach in Cyprus, that story doesn’t seem so far fetched. Laughter dances from them, the sea breeze whispering through their hair. As they get further away, one set of footprints is branded in the sand, a symbol of hope for me to think on. A woman to my right blasts down a phone, her face etched with concern. She groans deeply and throws it as far as she can.
“Are you alright?” I go over and ask her, the sand hot under my feet.
“What’s it to you old lady?” she snarls back, covering her face in her manicured hands. She sits cross legged on a pink towel, her white leather handbag speckled with sand.
“Who was that on the phone?” I press, beginning to doubt my usefulness.
She shakes her head and as her hands come from her face, I notice tears rolling down her tanned cheeks. She looks up with sad blue eyes.
“Tell me about it.”

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The Postman

ThepostmanFor some people, a job is just a job. Nine till five: downing a coffee, organising the desk, emailing, phoning, delegating, sorting, wolfing down lunch, some more emailing, downing a coffee, filing papers, consulting colleagues, discussing, concentrating, downing a coffee, meeting a deadline, catching up with the boss, one more email, photocopying, picking up bag, leaving work. And on it goes, day after day.
I used to think of my job as just a job. Until one day I delivered a special parcel to a young woman who had just lost her husband. She ripped it open like it was the answer to everything she was questioning. I don’t know why a silver medal on a royal blue ribbon overwhelmed her like it did. However, when I saw her smile and felt her hug me with such gratitude, I knew my job wasn’t just a job after all.
Some people do laugh. They can’t understand why a grown man would be happy delivering mail to other people who must have more interesting careers. Yes, sometimes I get abuse, mock laughter, and obscene gestures. But people have bad days and although they take it out on their local postman, it’s not like I’ve never done the same to others in a moment of distress.
Not all parcels and letters come with good news, but the ones that do put a smile on people’s faces, and the ones that don’t…well, that’s my chance to offer a comforting smile.
My job isn’t just a job, it’s my purpose.