Friday, February 18, 2011


Our footprints serve as a road map to show us where we have been and what we have done in our lives. Yet it seems to me that often I labor to bury my past in order to hide my failures, my shame, my sins, and my disappointments. I cover my tracks so that others don't see them, but more importantly, I want to hide them so that I am not reminded of them. Yet I am coming to understand that this is a mistake, one that could have far-reaching consequences.

For one thing it is important not to lose sight of the fact that without memories of our failures, we might just unwittingly retrace our same steps and multiply our pain, anguish, and frustration. An old saying goes, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Anyhow, it is likely folly to think that we can isolate ourselves from our past in an attempt to guard our minds from unpleasantness. Such a path may gain some short-term peace, but will bring longer-term darkness. It prevents understanding, and understanding is a prerequisite to wisdom.

Another reason that covering our footprints is a mistake is that we, with a bit of perspective, might come to appreciate just how far we have come. Those footsteps just might provide some positive feedback that could serve to strengthen us and embolden our resolve. The ancient Chinese proverb says, "A journey of a thousand miles begins with but one step." With perspective comes appreciation. Footprints serve to show us where we have been and what we have done. Hopefully we will all continue making strides to a more positive place toward wisdom and appreciation.