Once upon a time, there was a young woman named Sarah who lived in the village below the Mountain of the Golden Footprints. She was feeling very sad and depressed. Nothing or no one could make her happy. She had been very unhappy and depressed for a long time. "What is the use of going on?" she said. Nothing anyone said seemed to make a difference.|
Her best friend went to visit Sarah and told her the story of the Mountain of the Golden Footprints. "It is a special place where as the sun sets you can look out over the city and see sparkling golden footprints on the places and people where you have made a difference."
"But I haven't made any difference in anyone's life," she said. There won't be any golden footprints for me to see. So why should I bother to go there?"
"But," said her friend, "If you don't see any golden footprints, there is a special village on the other side of the mountain. That is a place for all those people who haven't made a difference. It is comfortable and very pretty and there you can be happy. So you see, you have other options besides not going on with your life. If you went to the village on the other side of the mountain, I would miss you, but it would be better than your not being alive. You have nothing to lose."
So Sarah decided to give it a try. After all, she only wanted to do something. She could not go on the way she was. Besides, although she was sure she would not see any golden footprints, she had a little glimmer of hope that going there would make a difference in her life. The village on the other side of the mountain also sounded like it could be a place where she could be happy.
She walked up the path to the top of the Mountain of the Golden Footprints. It was a long walk and sometimes very difficult. But she had made the decision to go to the top and continued on, although sometimes she just wanted to stop climbing and curl up and cease to exist.
She reached to top and came to the lookout point. She was greeted by a woman called Faith who watched over the Mountain of the Golden Footprints.
Sarah sat on a rock at the top of the mountain and looked out over her village far below. Although the sun was not setting yet, she felt inside as though she were looking out over her life. She could see her house and the house of her friend, the house of her parents, her school, and many places from her childhood. She remembered many things as she looked out over these places, some sad and some happy.
And as she was thinking about her life, the sun began to set. She did not really pay any attention since she did not expect to see any golden footprints. But soon a golden twinkling light began to appear in the park in the middle of the village. She did not still believe it could possible be a Golden Footprint. "Look," Faith said excitedly, "There is you first Golden Footprint!"
"But how could that be?" asked Sarah. " I don't ever remember anything I did in the part that could have possible made a difference."
"That is my department," answered Faith. "I have watched people make Golden Footprints from this mountain top for many years. I remember all the Golden Footprint happenings."
"One day a long time ago, when you were a little child, you went laughing through the park. There was a man sitting there who had just left his wife and child over a silly argument. He say your laughter and missed his child so much that he returned to this family and lived with them happily ever after."
"Well, that was kind of accidental. I certainly didn't know I had done that," said Sarah. As she finished speaking, another golden sparkling footprint appeared on the house of her friend.
"Well, I have loved my friend very much."
" Remember when she was very sick? You went to see her and brought her flowers and stayed with her and talked many hours and held her hand. If you had not done that, she would not have survived."
"But how could that be?" asked Sarah. "I'm not a doctor. I do not give medicine. How could I have saved her life?"
"The doctor gave her good medicine, but you gave her hope. You gave her strength and courage so that her body could make the medicine work."
And as she finished speaking, the valley below was aglow with Golden Footprints. There was one on the school where her smile and love for learning had inspired a fellow student to stay in school and become a great philosopher. There was one over a tree that she had planted in the yard of her house, and one over the flowers that she had planted. There was one over the place where her stubbornness had convinced the King that the village needed a smoother road for travelers, and he had smiled at her outspokenness and feisty nature.
There was a footprint right on top of the roof of her house. That was where she had taken her children one night to watch the stars.
There was one over the pub in the village. There was where she had met her husband and they had fallen in love.
"I had forgotten all those things," said Sarah. "I was so depressed that I only remembered the sad things and not the good things. I guess I have made a difference."
"And you will in the future. There are stars to show your grandchildren and a birthday to share with your friend. And your husband needs a romantic evening at the pub," said Faith.
Sarah sat for a long time until the sun had set and the Golden Footprints disappeared and the lights of the village were lit in the streets and homes below and flickered, not as Golden Footprints, but as tiny footprints of fireflies. Soon Sarah would start the climb down the mountain, guided by the tiny lights below.
Sarah smiled and thanked Faith. She started on her way down the mountain and knew that someday she would tell others about the Mountain of the Golden Footprints and make a difference in their lives.
Carol Troestler copyright 1992,
used with permission.