I won’t be alone in stating that one of my favorite poems is The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost. Just to refresh your memory, enjoy the poem below the picture.
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.
I don’t really need to go into all the different interpretations of this poem, but when I had to memorize this particular poem in Senior English class in high school, it struck a cord with me that has lasted well over 20 years now. I have always, always had this fascination with the “road less traveled by”.
This afternoon I took a walk through the park near our home. I sat down on a bench and noticed that the path going in either direction made a bend which I could not see around. Unlike the poem, I did not have to make a choice which path to go down…. metaphorically speaking, I believe that choice was made to come here.
What really had me thinking, though, is the “bend” in the path which you can’t see past. We are already on the “one less traveled by”, yet so often there’s that bend in the path that I can’t see around that is just, well, scary. Sometimes the days here are exhilarating and refreshing with others downright hard and depressing. It’s a paradox that has assaulted every sense in my body to its core. Sitting on the bench, I realized that there are days I simply don’t want to get up and “move on”. The bench provides rest. It provides “time” to rest and it also provides perspective. Giving myself the space and time to pause and rest is necessary and I thank God for providing “benches” in my life here for me to do just that. It’s simply a waste to stay seated on the bench forever, however.
Often times what lays beyond the bend is amazing beauty.
For example, this past week He also reminded me of why we’re here. After a conversation I had been having with a colleague (in English since she speaks English well!), she stated that she sees me with such peace and calmness. That “that” is something she wants. We joked about that because she obviously has not seen me in the classroom with the young kids! Yet I was really, really touched by her comment. I do so much want to reflect Jesus and somehow touch the lives of my fellow colleagues despite a huge barrier in language. The language barrier struggle is real, so having this type of reminder is huge.
I have to continue to lean into the Creator. He steadies my feet. He steadies my heart. He refreshes my soul and allows me to regroup and move beyond the bend. I don’t want to stay sitting on the bench too long just because I’m tired of the daily struggles living in a different culture. No, there’s more beauty around the bend. I just have to get up and move on beyond what I can’t see.