The Road Not Taken
By Robert Frost
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.
Do you ever play the what-if game? I’ve been doing that a bit lately.
I love that poem by Robert Frost. Life is full of diverging roads. We make choices every day, and once a path is chosen, as he said, we rarely get to go back and choose the other one.
Lets look at a few for instances.
What if…I’d said no the first time D asked me to a movie?
What If…I’d said yes to that other guy?
What if…I’d chosen to finish college (okay, let’s be real here, start college) instead of getting married and having kids?
What if…we’d chosen Public School right from the start?
What if…I’d chosen to be a working mom?
What If…We’d stopped having kids after G?
What if…D had taken that job in Porto Rico when I was pregnant with E?
I could go on and on and on. There are so many key decisions that I made that have led me to where I am today; some on my own and some with D.
I just can’t help but wonder what life would look like if I’d chosen differently in just one of the above instances. This kind of thinking will mess with your head just a little bit, but for me I think it is a good practice.
It makes me more thankful when I realize that just one small decision, made differently, and my family could look markedly different. If I’d finished college would I have felt like I needed to not “waste it” and gone into the working world, still to be there today?
What If I’d said no to D when he asked me out, he did still have a girlfriend at the time (what can I say, we were teens and young and stupid) would I be with someone else?
What if we’d stopped having kids after G? We were flat broke and it would have made the most since. I simply can’t imagine my life without my daughters.
What if we’d chosen public school? We most surely would be living somewhere else as our local schools stink. I’m sure I’d be very involved, or would I have decided to use those hours with the kid gone to work? Would I know my kids as well as I do if I’d sent them to school?
What would life be like if we’d chosen to move to Porto Rico? Would be still be there? I can’t even imagine how my life would be altered if we’d chosen differently on that one.
In all honesty, I believe strongly that the Lord orders our steps, but I also believe we have free will. I know that in all of those decisions, we sought God for direction. (Okay, the ones we made when we were adults, I’m not sure I was thinking about God at all when I said yes to D when he asked me out!) But somehow when you let your mind wander down that other path Robert Frost wrote about, it leads you to appreciate the one your on.
Don’t get me wrong, I do have regrets. I do wish I’d gone to college. That is something I may never get the chance to do again. I am surrounded by highly educated, very intelligent people, and I will always feel, somehow, beneath them.
Even as a writer (and I use that term VERY loosely) I feel as if I could be so much better at it, if I’d had the education to bolster it. Maybe some day I’ll go back and take some writing classes, maybe someday the Lord will present that path to me again. But for now, I must choose to be happy on the path that I am on. I must choose to appreciate its beauty.
Somehow, the older I get, the more closely I examine both paths I have to choose from. I am more intentional, I know that you can’t go back and un choose later.
I also have learned to appreciate the beauty and uniqueness of the path I am on. The Lord allowed these choices to be presented to me, He allowed me to be on this path at this moment in time, with the people He has put on this path with me. It’s not an accident I’m here.
I choose to appreciate it, no matter what choices and what paths led me here.