Confession, and a reflection on choices

It’s January, a brand new year, and I want to get this off my chest:

I kind of don’t like the Road Not Taken poem by Robert Frost.

I know, I know, I posted it as the Thoughts for Thursday for today. Maybe I’m harboring ill favor towards it because of the forced dissection of it in high school. (and college. ugh. let it go, y’all) But I think it also has to do with what I perceive as a missed interpretation of this poem.

Most people think it’s about being different, taking the path few have trodden before, being independent and cool. (Robert Frost as the original hipster? hm…) And that’s fine and dandy, I’m all for that, forge ahead wayward pilgrims.

This poem, though, is about choices.

(I really want to go off on a tangent right now about parallel universes and how there is a universe out there wherein Robert Frost takes the other path, but I digress……)

In this poem, our boy Rob does something we all do every day: he makes a choice. He doesn’t really base it on much, seems like it was a grassier path, but that choice made all the difference. What difference? Who knows. It made some difference to him though, and so it is with the choices we make in our day to day lives.

Our choices are what make us who we are. There are ten zillion quotes and word picture memes about making choices (trust me, I googled it to see if I could find something good for TfT). They all have basically that same point: choices, not circumstances, make us who we are.

I like to think I make the big choices with intention, like what charity I’m going to donate my money to, or where to dedicate my time and full self. Other things are based, like the choice of that grassy path, on a whim. Is that can of beans on sale? Two for 67 cents? sold!

I think the biggest choice that I intentionally make, though, is the choice to be a Christian. I choose to follow Christ, to try and live as He did and be what I feel I am called to be. I choose to be kind and compassionate even to the lady that cussed me out on the phone because I couldn’t get her the appointment time she wanted. I choose to let the car out in front of me. I choose. My choice. 

Our choices have consequences though, as our friend Robert laments– I took the one less traveled… but I’ve always wondered where that other path went. I can see him old and grey, reclining by a hearth and telling his grandchildren about that fateful day, and sighing that he always meant to go back and find out where that other path went.

I hope and pray that you, dear reader, make choices you are proud of, that you can stand by. Make the choices that put a smile on baby Jesus’ face. Even if it seems trivial–like choosing one path over another due to its grass and leaf content–it could make all the difference.


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