|Posted on August 27, 2018 at 7:40 AM|
Two Roads 8/27/18
Which road will you take?
This past week my husband and I spent a little time up on the North Shore. For those of you not from Minnesota, that’s the stretch alongside Lake Superior on Highway 61 from Duluth north to the Canadian border. On one beautiful, sunny day, we filled our time with several drives on dirt-lined roadbeds and hikes over stony hills and well-worn paths. Some of the roads and trails led to nothing except more of the same (seemingly endless trail through trees), but others led to gorgeous views of the enormous Lake Superior (also called Gitchee Gami), smaller pristine lakes, wildlife and wild flowers.
Several times on our hikes we came to divergent paths – usually the wider one was the way we wanted to go – to get to some special observation deck or lovely waterfall. And yet, I often felt a tug to take the other, narrower path, partly out of curiosity and partly for the adventure. But I didn’t take that smaller path – given our timeline to see the “big things” I opted to forgo those other pathways.
In the evening as I was sitting in the hot tub reflecting on our day (and easing my sore leg muscles!) I was reminded of a poem I first came across in high school: “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost. Since I hadn’t read it in quite a while, I pulled it up on my computer. Here it is:
“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
That poem holds a lot of meaning for me. How many times in my life have I come across two divergent roads – two ways in which I could go? I guess it was every time I had to make a big decision, and probably also when I made the small decisions. Looking back, I think I probably mostly took those “well worn” roads where many others had travelled before me.
What would my life have been like after college had I not taken the easy road and safety of a job in my hometown but instead took the one I was offered on the east coast where I knew no one? What if we had chosen a different home in a different community than the familiar one we live in now? Oh, so many times I have taken the road well-travelled!
Yet I can think of a few times when I have taken the road “less travelled.” I’d have to say that one of these is my journey of faith. It’s getting harder to be a Catholic Christian these days – many people are moving over to the easier road of what some might call “blasé” Christianity, or to the path of no religion at all. But I am going to stay on this road, even though it might be narrower, steeper and sometimes even lonelier. This road has led to some wonderful discoveries that I would not have found on an easier path – including the many discoveries about my ability to be strong in the face of challenges.
We all have choices to make. In the words of Joshua 24: “Choose you this day whom you will serve… as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” The Gospel of John 6 tells us that the Bread of Life teachings were difficult for people to understand and accept, and many chose to leave, taking the familiar path they knew. Jesus then asked his twelve “Do you also want to leave?” Peter answered “Master, to whom shall we go?” The faithful disciples stayed on that narrow, less-travelled path to walk with Jesus. It may be difficult, but I will try my best to continue my journey on this road too.
What crossroads are you facing in your life? If you need to make a choice about which road to take, I encourage you to reflect on it and pray about it. Only you can decide which path you will take, but perhaps you will want to consider the words in Mr. Frost’s poem. Sometimes taking the road less travelled will make all the difference.
May you be blessed on whatever road you take!
Have a blessed Monday!
© 2018 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net