The Road You’ve Taken

Sitting in my office today at my writing desk, I found myself staring at a simple snapshot, smiling warmly, and feeling astonished at how such an uninteresting looking shot would be so valuable to me that it would be the only photograph to grace my space.

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Do you see it? Somewhere between empty journals waiting to be filled, a mug with a Hebrew blessing made and given by one brother and his sweet wife, watercolor papers and paints and brushes, colored pencils and calligraphy pens, book binding supplies, a paperclip holder given as a joke by a friend, two oil paintings painted and given to me by another brother (one of my favorite beach), a Phoenix statue given by a good friend this Christmas, a jade dragon, the elephant and bells from my classroom last year, two laptops (one dedicated to writing, the other to everything else), calendars, and school work there is a picture that once gone could never be replaced. There, on the inset shelf? Do you see it?

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Two flags blowing in the breeze in front of some dreadfully uninteresting rocks near what looks like perhaps an impressively dull but probably terribly important radio tower constitute a picture of such great value that were it lost or destroyed I would be heartbroken.

It’s not what the picture is, per se, that lends such weight, it’s the memories and stories this picture tells me about who I am, where I came from, and how I got here ~ like a horcrux ~ that mean so much to me. It’s the way it reminds me of a hundred different stories I was told and the memories of people I met and things I did in a time when my path in life altered course so significantly in ways I never could have predicted but that I can never regret either.

A few weeks ago in my Classics series I shared The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost. That day as I wrote I was thinking of the way we sometimes become so involved that we forget to follow through with our intentions to revisit people and places in our lives in the sense that “way leads onto way.” Tonight I am much more struck with the paths we find ourselves on in life. I think there are points in everyone’s life where upon reflection we can see how that a single choice placed our feet upon a path that would lead to places we had never imagined ourselves, whether good or not.

To get behind the wheel having had that drink…

To call a cab or a friend…

To cheat on your spouse…

To keep your cha-cha to yourself…

To get involved in drugs…

To walk away or get help…

To choose to be complacent at work…

To choose to give your all…

To decide it is time to move on from a toxic work environment…

To stay and let the toxicity destroy you…

To take a leap of faith to follow a lifelong dream…

To choose not to leap because of fear…

To actively choose forgiveness over bitterness…

To wallow in bitterness, grudges, and self pity…

To choose to go do something somewhat outside the comfort zone…

To never be brave enough to step out in faith…

To meet people and listen to their stories, letting them sink deep into the soul until they take root and blossom into a passion and a purpose…

To judge the other, deem them unworthy, and keep to yourself and your small circle…

To say hello to that person…

To sit back and wonder what might have happened if you did say hello…

To speak your truth, whether it is to a loved one about an issue, to a friend about a concern, to a counselor or therapist about the trauma that is destroying you from the inside out, or to someone whom you desire even if you are unsure of their feelings…

To stay silent…

We are faced with choices everyday that seem small in the present but from a perspective looking back can mean the difference between a you that you might have been and the you that you have become today.

No choice, no matter how small, is truly insignificant because each choice is a step onto a path to your future.

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I marveled today at how a few small choices I made that seemed so insignificant so long ago now bring me such pleasure knowing who I became because of them.

And yes, the flag on the desk is the same one flying in that picture.

14 thoughts on “The Road You’ve Taken

  1. This made me think of the old-school Choose Your Own Adventure Books – sometimes I wish in real life you could mark your page so if you don’t like where a choice takes you, you can flip back and pick a different choice.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Wouldn’t that be lovely?! I’d choose not to wear some things I did and choose to wear some things I didn’t, I’d have said something to that someone when I had the chance so I wouldn’t have that “what if” floating around inside my head, and I would definitely (definitely!) never let anyone else near my filing cabinet again.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My sewing room and Weaving room are off limits to All unless I say differently. All know that. They give me crap about what they look like as the are “work” rooms not pretty rooms. To let them in picks them up and disturbs the magic in the air. ( ok, maybe a little dust too) it’s the magic that weaves into my mind when I am in the rooms. Filled with little collected art from all over and photos and paintings of all types. I am not copying you. I’ve been at this for a lot longer, but I think must people who are creative have this type of surrounding. Not to be touched by others. Do not touch someone else’s magic. 🌹🌹

    Liked by 2 people

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