January 2008                             God-given promptings

The Less Traveled Road

Sometimes, I am courageous enough to page through an old folder containing articles I wrote almost ten years ago. Do I still believe what I wrote then? Has life changed? If the article were written by another author, would I even read it? Along this line, for some reason, periodically, I find myself going back to an article written several years ago, having to do with sidewalks. In fact, it could be entitled The Sidewalks of My Life.


The initial inspiration for the article came from a summer of study at one of our schools of higher learning. Going from class to class, I was struck by the lay-out of the sidewalks. The lay-out was anything but neat and pristine. I suppose one could even say that often there were short cuts from here to there. Upon inquiring, I was told that the authorities waited for paths to be formed naturally, before permanent sidewalks were laid. After that, students were expected to use the sidewalks and not cut across the grass. There was a penalty attached to the latter.


Through the years, I have come to know that we all have our sidewalks, our paths, our ways of living and responding to life. Perhaps, the Lenten season, soon to be upon us, is a good time to take a look at these paths and to study them. It would appear that many of these paths were convenient and came natural to us, due to life's situations and our own personalities. Up until now, these paths may have served us well. Still, we know that God's call always comes anew.


As I ponder this aspect of life, I am wondering if there is a new path God might be asking of us. Possibly, it is a new way of seeing life or what it means to accept the human vocation. It could be that there is an old and familiar path God might be asking us to leave, a faithful path that has done its work.


Many of us are acquainted with the well-known poem of Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken. Again and again, I have found it helpful to pray with this poem. Quietly and interiorly, I place myself at the point where the two roads converge and, like Frost, I look down the two paths as far as I can see. Frost chose the second road, the one less traveled and the one that seemed to want for wear. As the poem goes, this choice made all the difference in his life. Frost told himself that he would keep the first path for another day, knowing full well that he would never be returning this way, again. We seldom do in cases like this.


Probably, the greatest act of love and valor in all of this is trusting that God will show us which new way to go and then walk with us.

Sister Mary Jo Loebig, O.C.D

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