“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood…” wrote the poet, Robert Frost.
I recently accepted an invitation to speak at a women’s retreat in Ontario.
It’s slated for the end of September when, I am informed, “there’s an eighty percent chance of beautiful fall colors and a zero percent chance of snow on the ground”.
Which is, as you know, terribly attractive to weather wimps such as myself.
As close as I can figure it, the ladies there were reading my blog this spring, and in a fit of desperation born of an eternal winter, decided I was just the one to join them over a hot cuppa and lead a few discussions on life in the trenches.
When paths diverge, what’s a girl to do?
This particular path smells briskly of moose and pine and possibilities.
Although I have not yet met these lovely ladies, if they’ve had a child explode a loaded diaper in their lap or a meal explode in their microwave, we already share the kinship and camaraderie of Girlfriends.
I could lead an entire class on the pros and cons of using a single closet to hold nothing but canned goods (labels out!), but that’s not why I’m going.
I’m going because I know that Life in the Trenches can get seriously messy.
And awkward. And stupid. Sometimes things happen that we definitely didn’t sign up for.
We all have days when we feel lost, overwhelmed, underpaid, and darn it, our feet hurt. We want to sit down and have someone rub them.
We’d like to just sit down, please.
We see two roads diverging in a yellow wood and can’t for the life of us figure out which one we are supposed to take because we still have the grocery shopping, soccer practice, bills to pay, and the dog to worm, and already we’re suspicious that the yellow wood may be yellow for a reason.
Especially if snow and kids are involved.
With multiple paths wandering around shadowy corners to destinations unknown, we face decisions all day about which way to turn next.
Moving always onward, our choices are making all the difference.
And if today is the current sum total of every choice we ever made, then might it be possible to choose our next bend in the road with slightly more intention?
The path that seems rockier but holds a little more brightness? The path that heads uphill, but gives a little more grace? The path that scares me but feels more compassionate? The healing path that feels like laughter could be possible, even through tears?
When I tell this story of Canada, with a sigh, ages and ages hence, I will say that I chose the road that felt most like God calling me.
And also, I will say with a smile, my paths were full to overflowing with Girlfriends!
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, 1916