Monday, September 17, 2007

The Road Less Traveled

Through the years I have had many discussions about life with many people: my daughter, sisters, mother, my husband and friends. What is it all about? Are we here for a reason? Do we have control of our destiny, or does our destiny control us?

"It's like you're trying to climb a mountain," one sister said, "You're making some progress and feeling good about it, but you lose your footing and fall back." She stopped for a minute, a thoughtful look on her face, "And then you start climbing again."

I thought that was a very good way to put it. Me? I liken life to an Interstate highway.

But I have not always felt that way.

In the 1970's, I woke up one morning and realized I had no control over my life. I was living a life mapped out by someone else, and there was no veering off the designated path.

And then. Something happened. My anesthetized senses began rising to the surface, and a picture slowly emerged: an Interstate highway. When you're driving down the Interstate, you usually have a destination in mind. You can drive straight to that destination and never veer off the path, sticking to the written-in-stone directions. Or you can take an exit every now and then, driving down unknown roads, discovering new places, meeting new people, and learning things about yourself you never would have known.

But first, you have to take the wheel.

After much soul searching, I finally got off that Interstate. I explored. I took this path and that; I drove down gravel roads, dirt roads, back roads. A few times, I thought I had come to the end of the road. But I just got right back on the Interstate and kept going.

And that, for me, has made all the difference.

The Road Less Traveled

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.

-- Robert Frost

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All words and pictures © 2008 Brenda G. Wooley