I love hiking paths. I’ve hiked in many a park, pasture, woods, and other places. I got to thinking about this earlier today, while taking my morning walk on the path on the edge of a bean field out back of our place.
Sometimes when starting out on a hike there are a couple of options or more. You can go to the left, to the right, or maybe take a path straight ahead. Some are marked “easy” and some are marked “challenging” while another might be marked “moderately difficult” and you need to make a choice. Often, after going but a few yards, you can still see the other paths and can easily decide to cross over through some undergrowth and take a different path. But as you walk further the paths grow farther apart until you’re committed to the path you chose.
It reminds me of the poem by Robert Frost. The last lines go like this…
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by.
And that has made all the difference.”
Each day, every hour of each day, yes, every moment, we make choices about what to think, what to say, what is really important to us and what is not. We choose our own path, and the longer we keep choosing the same way the harder it gets to change the direction we find ourselves going. This is both good and bad.
It’s bad if we allow ourselves to continually make bad choices, many times little choices, that seem inconsequential at the time. We can find ourselves habitually thinking or acting in ways that are destructive to ourselves, others, and God’s great destiny for us. The longer we do so the more difficult it becomes to change the path we’re on.
It’s good if we’re intentional about making seemingly small choices that are right and good. We’ll find ourselves going down a path that’s leading us to good places, where God wants us to be.
There are many diverging paths ahead of us even yet in this day. What will we think about? How will we respond to that person or challenge? What will we allow ourselves to fixate on? What will we reject as “stinkin’ thinkin'”? The easy path is almost always not the best path. Jesus says, “Follow me!” We’re called to take the path marked “challenging.” If we do we can affirm with Robert Frost, “and that has made all the difference.”