Roads Not Taken
You only really need the things you make, love or leave outside. ~Jim Koss
Roads not taken. Every life is full of them. Some we choose to turn away from. Some we miss the turning, intent on something off in the distance (or inside our own head) and only see the road at all when we gaze back across the valley, miles and miles along. Some roads are blocked in ways our longing to travel them simply cannot overcome.
We can only linger so long at the crossroads and, as Robert Frost observed, cannot ever be one traveler and travel both. Very occasionally our journey intersects one of those not-taken paths a bit further on and we have the chance to choose again.
Sometimes seconds chances feel like gifts; sometimes they feel like tests. It’s ever so easy to embrace the gifts, to sink into the renewed opportunity with a contented sigh.
The others, the tests, are crazy-making, panic-inducing; flight-or-fight chemicals flood our brains and we are equally likely to be paralyzed by fear (while mentally running every possible outcome in hopes of getting it right this time) as we are to flee.
The question is: can we actually get it wrong?
Short of doing irreparable harm to ourselves or others is any path really wrong? Every experience adds to the mosaic of our life. To live is to turn time into experience. We gather knowledge, memories, stories. We laugh. We cry. We endure heartache, boredom and hardship. We embrace joy, contentment and connection. And through it all, if we pay attention, we discover that we are more than the sum of our experiences. We are more than our successes and our failures, more than our mistakes, more than our plans and dreams.
It’s really okay – we’ve got this – whatever road we choose will take us somewhere, show us something, add to the mosaic. And that little piece of scarlet or chartreuse that doesn’t seem to “go” with the rest? That may be just the piece we need to provide the spark for the extraordinary masterpiece of our life.