Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Road Less Travelled

When I was a freshman in high school my Dad came into my room one evening and asked if he could talk with me. He shared a little from his life in high school, you know, what it was like "back in the day." He spoke about his favorite subject, his teachers and his dates. We reminisced for awhile, and then he delivered some lines of poetry he learned in his high school class. It was a poem by Robert Frost. You may have read it yourself. It's called "The Road Not Taken."

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 marked 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.

My Dad hesitated on the last stanza. I thought he had forgotten the words, but he spoke them loud and clear. He paused and then recalled some of the roads less traveled he had trod in his own life.

He then asked something of me that to this day strikes me as profound. He wanted me to remember the road less traveled -- though it may appear hard and lonely -- is one that charts new territory and moves to the beat of a different drummer. And while it may appear to wind away from the crowds and the familiar, it is -- for that reason -- traveled in honesty and guided by one's own compass.

Over the years I have gratefully remembered that night and, because of it, often taken the road less traveled. And while there may have been an easier passage, there was none truer.

I pray each dad will share with his children that the road best taken might just be the road less traveled.

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