When you are sorrowful look again in your heart,
and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

~ Kahlil Gibran, from"The Prophet"

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Road Not Taken

-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.

The road to the right is well-worn, flatter, wider and easier to negotiate as it comfortably accommodates the majority of people who walk these woods. This lane leads to many inner paths, where choices allow the opportunity to wander about, while maintaining proximity to the Nature Center; the home base, the hub, population, safety.

The road to the left begins with a steep uphill climb which, at times, leaves me short of breath. This, a much longer path with many ascents, twists and turns, includes a bridge traversing the creek, while taking me deep into the woods. I (we, those of us whose lives cancer touches) was initially shoved in this direction without consent, blindsided by this attack, this diagnosis of my child's cancer, and therefore tip-toed along numbly, terrified. My life then BECAME this road, without choice. I was off the beaten path, in unfamiliar territory without a compass, groping for order.

And therein laid the ultimate choice. Since I was forced to continue on this road, would I do so willingly with an open heart, or decide to close my mind to the blessings that were hiding just beyond the fear? Though commonly a lonely journey, this avenue to the left allows the witness of abundant beauty contrasted with stark desolation, as it takes me from the core of the forest to its outer reaches. It allows a spectacular view of the ever-moving creek from above, and then gently brings me back down, allowing me to find the ground again. And unlike the wide road to the right which offers several inner-path choices, once the trip to the left is underway there are only two options; to continue moving forward or turn back - engagement or detachment.

Frost's poem speaks a declaration of individualism, but it doesn't say the decision is good or bad, just that it has made all the difference. Adversity breeds character - or not. It can just as easily go either way. YOU choose! To consciously make the choice to remain present, to walk the walk, to see the blessings in each event, is now, and was for the three years Erin was sick, HARD WORK EACH AND EVERY DAY. I am SAD, so sad sometimes I can hardly breathe. But there is a choice; to wallow in the sadness or to move forward. It's not ignoring it, it's carrying it - moving with it, in spite of it or often because of it. And so I consciously move forward each day, while carrying the brilliant light of Erin inside me...
and that has made all the difference.

1 comment:

  1. I've always loved that poem, and your reflections on it resonate within me. God bless you as you walk this path, one step at a time, one day at a time. You are right: we didn't choose this path; we were put on it. Our choice is HOW to walk it.