Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And I took the wrong one.
I didn't even know I was no longer on the right path.
I didn't even know there had been a choice,
and that I had chosen the one
that would not return me to my car and my people.
I was just walking, contemplating life,
and relishing the quiet alone time that is so hard to come by these days.
It was a beautiful day, and a beautiful trail.
After about 10 or 15 minutes on this new trail,
I began to have a nagging feeling that I was lost.
Weird. Since I hadn't changed trails -- or so I thought.
I stopped, looked around, and although it was truly beautiful,
Something felt ... wrong.
I questioned myself, my judgement, my assumptions.
I was faced with a decision.
Forge onward, trusting that this was indeed the right path,
Retrace my steps to double check what I thought I already knew.
I was certain that I was near the parking lot.
I had already hiked more than nine miles.
I was tired. I didn't want to waste time or energy getting this wrong.
I remembered that I had glimpsed a car through the trees a little ways back.
I retraced my steps, found the peeking car, and left the trail to make a beeline for that car.
I came out of the woods to find a small parking lot.
A parking lot that was most definitely NOT mine.
Great. I have no cell service, and I still don't know if the parking lot I sought was further ahead on the trail, or behind me somewhere.
I didn't know if the road to this parking lot was even the same road that would lead to the parking lot I sought.
I prayed and thought.
I knew for sure that I had been on the correct path when I crossed the bridge.
I decided to return to the trail
and retrace my steps to the bridge.
At last I came upon the divergence of the trails.
To my surprise, there was a large, clear sign marking the two trails.
I had completely and entirely missed it.
I had been distracted, somehow, at the very point of the trail splitting.
There was no reason for me to have questioned my path.
I KNEW I had never left the trail.
No reason, ... except for a subtle, yet distinct feeling that something wasn't right.
I was clearly reminded that I am never lost to the Lord.
That He see's all and He knows where we are, and where we most want to get to.
He cares about us and our journey and will prompt, and guide, but will never force.
He lets us choose our paths and their destinations.
This life is full of distractions which make it easy to miss the signs.
We can be so certain that we are on the right path, and still be so wrong.
Do I create time and space for quiet contemplation?
Am I willing to question my judgements and assumptions?
Am I willing to retrace my steps back to a place where I know, with certainty, that I was firmly planted on the right path?
Am I able to see that what might look like lost or wasted time and energy, actually gave me a solid opportunity to learn and grow?