My husband gave me a framed copy of “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost. The poem about two roads diverging held a prominent place in our home from day one. I felt that my husband was honoring my journey of walking down my own path.
In April 2011, our home sat in the path of one the many tornadoes that went through the community. The house suffered major damage, but we were all safe. The chaos rearranged our home and our lives and it has taken a while to get things back to what is considered normal in our house. “The Road Not Taken” moved from a central location to one where I look at it and read it every day.
And I finally got it.
Reading it every day allowed me to see beyond what I thought it meant and get deeper into the words. Frost said that one road was less traveled that day – but that both roads were well worn. It was not that he took the less traveled road, but only that he TOOK. That is what that poem revealed to me in the last few days. I have to be willing to step out and take the path.
Tips for Leaving the Road Not Taken
- 1. Do something. My mom would get hectic when company came over. She would have all hands on deck scrambling to make sure the rooms were clean (and the doors were closed to those other rooms). “Quit standing there and do something.” She needed action. Take a step. You can stand and debate about which path to take until the wind blows the leaves off both roads, but there will still be two roads to take in the ends. Step out and then keep stepping.
2. Keep your eyes forward. My husband enjoys watching the scenery – even when he is doing the driving. Unfortunately for me, he also tends to drift where he is looking. I no longer yell when we cross over into other lanes, but God and I do get a little closer when my husband has the urge to let his eyes wander. The same holds true for life though. Turn to look at the past for too long and life has a way of veering off the course. Focus on the possibilities and the future and let the past fall into the dust.
3. Enjoy the journey. I was driving from Pensacola back to my hotel in Gulf Shores and took the back roads. The experience did NOT go the way I intended, but I learned a lesson. Now I retell the story often and even that not so excellent adventure leaves me smiling. There is joy to be had in the journey, even those that might not go the intended route. Find a way to enjoy the steps you have taken and the experiences you have gained.
The difference between the two paths in the poem hanging on my wall is not all that much. I think that might be why Frost does not specify if he went to the left or to the right. Both were well worn. Both were covered with leaves from the night. But he took . . . and that has made all the difference.
Are you ready to take your journey and leave behind the road not taken?