In Robert Frost’s poem The Road Not Taken, the last stanza reads:
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
I was thinking about this poem this morning because Frost stood for some time considering his options before decided which road to take. He had time to weigh and consider: this one or the other? But what happens when we have no choice? What happens when we find ourselves upon a road not of our own choosing? What do we do when we end up traveling in a direction we never imagined?
A car accident, a diagnosis of liver cancer in a four year old, Alzheimer’s setting in, a pink slip at work – what do we do when unexpected realities force us to travel down a road not of our own choosing?
What I’ve learned is it is difficult to make peace with the unexpected and begin traveling gently again. We fight, we fuss, we bargain, we rage, we… and then there comes a moment when we stop, and start breathing again. A deep sigh, as Frost mentions, that is an act of yielding, an acceptance of ‘what is’, and (I think) we start to live again, in peace, traveling down an unexpected road.