On my last beach trip as I schlepped my beach bag, chairs and towels up over the sand dunes, I recognized that if I put my foot into the footprints of the people who walked up just ahead of me, the sand and dunes were much easier to walk up. It made me ponder the familiar phrase “walking in others’ footsteps”. The truth became real to me as I climbed the dunes hill literally walking in another’s footsteps … and the climb was easier.
This reminded me of a South African greeting I learned … “Sebawo (We see you) “Yebo Sebawo”. Using the words “We see you” in this greeting reflects that no one stands alone. When we stand, we are standing on the shoulders (or walking in the footsteps) of those that have gone before us paving the way.
We have a lot of shoulders we stand upon representing different areas of our lives. Shoulders of our parents, grandparents and all the generations that have gone before us. Footprints of our spiritual mentors and guides in our faith. What about those who have built into your career and developed your calling?
The significant piece of the greeting Sebawo – Yebo Sebawo is the use of the word WE. Using WE means you represent those whose shoulders you are standing upon (parents, mentors, teachers, etc). Also, culturally represents that being SEEN is part of community and recognizing the footsteps that have paved the way. What an honoring way to greet another.
As I ponder the concept of those that have gone before me, I’m reminded of these 4 things.
1. Others have paved the way for me. Be grateful.
2. I am paving the way for others. Be responsible.
3. The things I invest in (good and bad) will be a legacy leave. Be intentional.
4. I will never know until heaven, how many people have given me a foot up. Think eternal.
Today, consider those who have gone before you. Take a moment to text them a note of appreciation for their investment in you. Or why don’t you share this with them and let them know that you are grateful you are walking in their footsteps. Consider those who are seeking to stand on YOUR shoulders. How can you give someone a leg up today?
Psalm 100:5 For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.