and sorry I could not travel both
and be one travelor
long I stood
and looked down one as far as I could
to where it bent in the undergrowth.......
These words by Robert Frost are forever etched in my memory. As freshmen in an excellent school system, Nancy Shaw, my 9th grade English teacher made us memorize this poem. I am so indebted to her! I still remember most of the poem and certainly this opening stanza. This stanza is a work of pure genius because it represents the human condition to a tee! I have found myself reflecting on it often throughout my life years after leaving high school.
I thought about it my senior year of college when I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and decided to leave behind my dreams of grad school for a job with health benefits. I thought about it after a few stormy relationships in early adulthood and a come to Jesus discussion initiated by a wonderful friend. I thought about it when I contemplated a long and rich career in the Federal Government in WDC versus exploration and adventure in other areas of the country. I am thinking about it now as I contemplate graduating from seminary and thinking about a new church start rather than ordained ministry as it is currently understood.
There are many years between some of these contemplations. I substituted contingencies for contemplations when my disease became more challenging than I could manage without a great deal of medicine or scientific intervention. I thank the Rev. Bob Molsberry for helping me to revisit my life in handicapdom. Blindsided by Grace, is a wonderful book about his struggle through accident and adaption to life in a wheelchair. I had the good graces of meeting him at the New Church Leadership Institute in Atlanta. I happened to mention to him that I still feel uncomfortable when I see someone in a wheelchair, ever since I was diagnosed with MS. Grace indeed set in and a wonderful discussion ensued. And then of course I read his book.
Grace happens everyday in my life. My messy, broken, sometimes weak, sometimes tingly life. Sometimes the right side of my body refuses to work in concert with the left. Sometimes I am so confused, I cant remember my daughters names. Sometimes I wish I was all okay again so I could get up and go to work like the mover and shaker that I used to be and fulfill my public service in the Federal Government.
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
til where it bent in the undergrowth.....
I guess I am still sorry and angry I cant travel both.
Even though I am sure that there is so much goodness that comes out of my contingency. God has carried me and I have been mightily thankful, but part of me wants to look down one as far as I can and see what might have been. How do I let go...really let go?
Maybe that is why I moved back to my hometown with my family. Maybe I have to re-shape what it means to hear and fulfill one's call. Not in a perfect sort of way...but on the path or road that you are given....that may be my call, my road. There should be a place for everyone to find purpose and meaning despite what comes their way....perhaps that is the road I am taking.