THE WRONG ROAD
“We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.”
C. S. Lewis
But what is the right road? What if you cannot distinguish the right road from the wrong? What then Mr. Lewis?
I swear to God I have this instinctual desire and need to take the road less travelled. I wonder if all people feel that way? I honestly doubt it. I have known people who have strolled down the straight and narrow path their entire lives. They have mapped out their future and followed the map for decades. I admire them for it, but I also know it is not for me.
I’m a seat-of-the pants kind of guy. I have a vision of where I want to go, but how I’m going to get there remains to be seen, and the path I take originally may be discarded and a new path chosen on a whim.
I follow some voice only I can hear and yet often times I do not understand the voice. Does that make sense to you? If so you are my brother or sister in life.
The road less traveled. I stand at a fork in the road. One path is filled with brambles and potholes, and the other neatly and smoothly paved. There is no doubt which path I am taking and yet I do not purposely take the beaten, aging, challenging path. I do not sit down under a tree at that fork and decide that the tough path is the best. I do not seek pain and misfortune. I do not revel in heartache . I do not find luxury in the warm embrace of tribulation….and yet, invariably and predictably, that is the path I stroll down.
THE JOB OF LIFE
“Who will tell whether one happy moment of love or the joy of breathing or walking on a bright morning and smelling the fresh air, is not worth all the suffering and effort which life implies.”
Regrets are for the unenlightened. You can quote me on that if you want.
I am not unique and my choice of the difficult road is hardly noteworthy. We all suffer. We all struggle from time to time, and we all have our very foundations shaken by life’s events.
How do we handle the aftermath…that’s the question. Do we cower in the corner, shaken to our core by failure, or do we emerge yet again, determined to overcome and persevere?
A friend of mine was fond of saying, “Life’s a bitch and then you die.” Well, yes, life can be a bitch, but how terribly sad to think that there is nothing more than misery and death.
The journey is wondrous or the journey is horrendous and we decide which it is. All of us have suffered loss. All of us have had our faith shaken and our resolve weakened, because dammit, life is not a perpetual stroll on the beach.
I have walked some dark roads. The canopy has darkened the surroundings, and in the woods to my left and right I have heard the wolves prowling in search of food. The soles of my shoes have worn thin and my feet have formed blisters, and yet I tell you honestly that I would not have it any other way, for every hardship has been necessary to bring me to this place of happiness.
LEARNING ALONG THE JOURNEY
“If I am walking with two other men, each of them will serve as my teacher. I will pick out the good points of the one and imitate them, and the bad points of the other and correct them in myself.”
Life is a learning gig. “If you ain’t learning then you ain’t growing.” So sayeth my grandmother and she was right on.
I have known some quality human beings and I have known some pond scum. I have learned from them all, and I have learned from them all because I have been willing to learn…..and….because it finally dawned on me that we are all angels and we are all pond scum. To deny it is pure foolishness. To shrink away from it is beneath us. Face the fact that there is good and evil in each of us, and then make the conscious choice to be the instrument for good.
When I was a youngster Ted Bundy was our paperboy. In the same neighborhood was Nancy Monroe, who eventually started a mission in Kenya for the underprivileged, and saved many more lives than Bundy killed.
The good and the bad, all there for me to learn from. Every path I take is lined with people who are active, and passive, teachers in my life. I saw Nancy get angry at a friend one day and punch her in the arm. She then cried for two hours because she had hurt another human being.
We are all so complicated. We are all so fascinating. How could we not be willing to soak in the education that is offered for free each and every day of our lives?
WE ARE OUR WALK
I had someone ask me the other day if I was unhappy. Surprised, I said no, it had been a lovely day and I was quite happy. They said I just appeared to be sad and they wondered why that was.
Well then of course, they had me thinking about the message I was sending out to the world. In my mind and heart I was filled with joy and yet the world saw something completely different.
Every day that I am alive, I am a walking, talking advertisement of who I am as a human being. My actions determine, ultimately, what kind of person I am. I can spout poetic and be as eloquent as the greatest essayist, but the bottom line is that if I don’t live my talk then I am a hypocrite.
And I really hate hypocrisy!
Is it possible to always walk our talk? No, of course it isn’t. We are, after all, only human, and as such we are prone to slipping and sliding on our journey. All I can do is put one foot in front of the other and try…just try…to be a better person.
THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD
“Many times I’ve been alone and many times I’ve cried
Anyway you’ll never know the many ways I’ve tried “…the Beatles
Yes, it has been a road less traveled, but I find comfort in the company of others who have traveled the same road. I have witnessed them when their walking days came to an end, and they held their heads high with dignity, knowing that they did their best. They stumbled, they fell and they returned to an upright position and trudged on, and in so doing they paved the way for me to follow.
It has been one hell of a walk. There is still some road ahead of me although in truth, I know not how much. The sunrise is far behind me and twilight is falling on this journeyman, but as long as there is light enough to see I will keep putting one foot in front of the other, and marveling at the wonders of this gift called life.
I wish you happiness on your own personal walk. May your personal stumbles be less harsh in the future, and may you always find satisfaction in the very act of walking.
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Peace be with you!
Bill and Bev