Saturday, January 31, 2009

Not Easy

Robert Frost wrote a poem about two roads diverging in a wood. It's a famous poem. I'm sure you all know it:

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.

Sometimes we are faced with choices that are much less clear cut than this. There is no road-less-traveled. There is just you, standing in the center of intersecting paths, neither of them straight, all of them enshrouded in fog. There is no way to tell which is the right path to take, or the most interesting, even as an Easterly wind tugs you one way and a Westerly one shoves you another. A breeze from the North might want to lift you off your feet, but one from the South could be whistling your name. So what on earth are you supposed to do? Where are you to go?

Sometimes I don't think life is like that - the picking of one road over another. Sometimes I think there must be a way to walk on several roads at once, or at least on one road that touches the banks of many different lands. There must be a way to make choices on your terms, musn't there?

And what if there are no winds guiding you in any direction at all? Or it's all one big confusion and you're not sure what is the right thing to do? What if there are sacrifices you're not willing to make, but you're not sure if you still ought to make them?

What if you feel just very lost?

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