Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
~ Robert Frost
If I’ve discovered one thing ion this crazy spiritual path, it is that God rarely seems to nudge me down the safe, well-worn, mundane paths of familiarity. It seems sort of unfair. Certainly if God loves us we should be led down to lie down in green pastures and find renewal beside still waters (Ps. 23)… oh, wait, that is right before we find ourselves in a dark valley full of shadows and death!
Forgive me, I prefer to explore the metaphorical meanings of scripture instead of the literal ones, I find them to be much deeper and richer in meaning. So, perhaps God finds ways to renew our minds and hearts, to rejuvenate and strengthen our spirits before our hearts call us down a difficult path. A path that might require us to confront the shadowy parts of ourselves – the feelings or memories that we’ve tried to deny or bury. This new path might also require us to “die” to something, to let go of something, to begin again. This can be a terribly difficult and even painful process.
Moving down these new roads often deconstructs much of we’ve believed or known until this point in our lives. Our old ideas, emotions, relationships, belief structures, and even understandings of how the world works may be challenged. New ways present themselves and we may not want to change, we may dig our heels in to try to pretend nothing is really changing. And then when we’ve found that heel-digging just makes us more miserable, we start the process of reconstructing.
In the end we discover that our hearts knew best, we just needed to listen. Our heads want to stay in the soft grass beside the still waters. But our heads know that still waters grow stagnant, and so will our lives. Growth, wholeness, and abundance come from growing and changing, and that requires risking.
The other thing I’ve discovered on this crazy spiritual path is that the divine is always with us in the shadowy, dark, scary places. And after we’ve struggled and fought and worked our way down this new road, we find, in the words of Robert Frost, that taking this road has made all the difference.