Monday, April 11, 2016

Fork in the Road

"Stay on the path that the Lord your God has commanded you to follow. Then you will live long and prosperous lives in the land you are about to enter and occupy." Deuteronomy 5:33 (NLT)
"There's a fork in the road but you never take it."[1]

It may depend upon our perspective or it may depend upon our character, but some would look at life and see it as a number of forks in the road, and choices we must make, as we navigate the one lifetime we have been given. Robert Frost is known for writing,

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.[2]

The complete stanza says,

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.[3]

Frost was often asked about the “sigh” in this poem and he was always enigmatic about it. What was the difference made? Was the difference a good difference or a bad difference? Perhaps it was an unknown difference.

A fork in the road, on the path of life, offers opportunities, choices, responsibilities, and temptations. In the movie,  A Wonderful Life, George Bailey has many opportunities and forks in his road. His choice at each one is a choice made out of loyalty. He chooses to serve the banking business his father started; he chooses to serve his brother; he chooses to serve the poor; he chooses to serve his town; and just when it looks like all of his choices will lead to suicide or prison, we find that he has chosen correctly and that he has also served his family.

Jayber Crow, the fictional barber in Wendell Berry’s book by the same name, has this to say about his path.

Now I have had most of the life I am going to have, and I can see what it has been. I can remember those early years when it seemed to me I was cut completely adrift, and times when, looking back at the earlier times, it seemed I had been wandering in the dark woods of error. But now it looks to me as though I was following a path that was laid out for me, unbroken, and maybe even as straight as possible, from one end to the other, and I have this feeling, which never leaves me anymore, that I have been led. I will leave you to judge the truth of that for yourself . . . there is no proof.[4]
There is no proof, and yet, there is always faith. There is no proof, and yet, there is always trust. You will have to judge the truth of that for yourself.

Works Cited:

Berry, Wendell. Jayber Crow: The Life Story of Jayber Crow, Barber, of the Port William Membership. Berkeley: Counterpoint, 2000.

Cuddy, Jim. Skyscraper Soul, "Watch Yourself Go Down," 2011 

Frost, Robert. The Road Not Taken. 2015. (accessed 04 11, 2016).

[1] Jim Cuddy; "Watch Yourself Go Down"; Skyscraper Soul, 2011.
[2] (Frost 2015)
[3] (Frost 2015)
[4] (Berry 2000)

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