I saw this picture today and immediately thought of Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken. It’ s one of my favorite poems. It often comes to mind whenever I have changes happening in my life. It reminds me that we always have a choice, and we should be careful of our decisions concerning those choices. A simple decision changes lives. I’m not talking about whether or not I eat a carrot or an apple for a snack, although even a decision about what I eat can affect me personally. I’m talking about those kinds of decisions like running in a marathon, for example, that seem insignificant yet might mean so much more than you think.
Sometimes, we never really see the impact our choices have. Some we see immediately. Some choices we have to force ourselves to accept when we know we have to wait for the results. Those seem the hardest ones at times, I think. It’s hard to be patient but sometimes, that’s for our benefit. If we can be patient and do the waiting the end result might be better than we expect. Sometimes, however, it’s not.
We all have choices to make every day, hard ones and easy ones. How we handle those choices, how we decide to think about those choices, plays a big part in our lives. We can take the easy way, the path of least resistance so to speak, or the hard way, the road less traveled. Either way will make us the person we are, and both affect the other decisions we make. Do you take the easy way all the time, or do you choose the hard way?
I don’t always take the easy way. I think there are lessons to be learned by taking the untraveled path. There are things to be seen. Plus, there’s something to be said for blazing the trail. But the hard way tends to be hard for a reason. You don’t know what’s beyond the bend. You don’t know if there’s a bump in the road or a washed out bridge. But you come to each new challenge and you face it, or you turn around and go back and take the easy way.
But don’t think the easy way is for weak people. Sometimes, for some people, what I might see as the easy way really might be hard for some people to take. Maybe they are used to the hard way and taking the easy way is hard because they can’t trust it. Think about kids in the foster system. They’ve never had it easy so it’s hard for them to trust anything that seems too good to be true. Because most of the time the shiny gold path is paved with fool’s gold.
The best thing we can do then is to try and make the best choices we can, whether easy or hard, and then live with the decision. As Frost said, “I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference.”
I’ve included Frost’s poem, just in case someone has not read it yet.
The Road Not Taken
BY ROBERT FROST