Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Road Not Taken

I'm one guy who limits his poetry reading to the occasional limerick or greeting card. Now don't get me wrong, I do enjoy some good word play, especially if it's been shaped into a song. Tunes like "Time in a Bottle," "Somethin' 'Bout a Truck" and "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" are popular classics tying together catchy melodies and thought-provoking lyrics.

Notwithstanding what I just said about poetry, however, there is one poem that always gets me thinking about life.

Robert Frost, American poet extraordinaire, wrote a poem called, "The Road Not Taken," where he describes a man pausing at a juncture of two roads coming together in a wood. He details the man's thought processes, as he considers what path to embark on. In the end, the man opts for the path "less travelled."

Frost writes,

"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."

I know what he means. As I look back over my life, I see how choices I made have led to where I am today. For example, when I considered my undergraduate program I had to choose between a large state university and a small religious institution. While I'm convinced I would have succeeded at either school, the decision to trek the less-travelled road of the religious school led to the path that placed me in my current position.

But in everyday life I've been faced with travel choices too, as when driving in a city I do not know or confronting a detour without my GPS. Either way, I can follow the majority of cars, which I have done before -- only to end up someplace other than my intended destination -- or I could trust my instincts and my internal compass.

If I know I need to go north and west, I just keep turning north or west, whether there are people to follow or not. Most of the time I get where I'm going; sometimes I even find something interesting along the way.

The point is this: our choices have consequences. One decision leads to another. Each ends with a choice. The next decision does the same. Sometimes our choices seem obvious, a true no-brainer. At other times, we're faced with a gut-wrenching decision.

As the poet no doubt sensed, the clear-cut thoroughfare may be the easiest to travel, but upon arrival you may find your destination no different than that of the numberless masses.

Choose your roads (make your decisions) wisely. It could make all the difference.

1 comment :

The Layman said...

I haven't been here in a while, I must have been on another road but apparently it intersects from time to time. Stay the course blogs don't get the best coverage in the TWEET and Facebook world but they are have the potential to communicate a thought that might help another wondering/wandering soul!