It was a fine Saturday morning, so I decided to walk to my favorite coffee house about a mile from my home. It couldn’t have been a more perfect day, and this in February? The sky was a lovely shade of clear blue, the birds were chirping away, and even the red bud trees were celebrating by revealing their gorgeous pinkish-red buds.
After enjoying my favorite combination (double shot cappo & a biscotti) and feeling like the day couldn’t get any better, I continued my walk around the pretty little (man-made) lakes nearby.
As I was walking I found myself in the midst of a race. The posted signs read: 5k, 10k, 15k, so the participants could do as much or as little walking/running as they wanted. Most folks were walking, suggesting that it was one of those ‘Fun Runs’ and not so much for competition. So I decided to ‘join in’ since we were all heading in the same direction. It was a merry crowd, some walkers even dressed up in the purple, green and gold of Mardi-Gras. Quite a few were wearing tutus!
Now knowing where it commenced, I figured it was early enough in the day that even if the walk took a couple of hours, I could still be home in time to get my work done. So I decided, why not?
I joined in and about a half a mile into it, I realized that I had no idea where the finish line was. I started thinking, “Uh oh, what if the finish line is so far from my house that it takes me hours to walk back? I better ask someone.”
I wasn’t officially part of the race, and I didn’t want to advertise that fact, so I discreetly asked a happy looking lady nearby, “Pardon, me…. so, where is the finish line for this race?”
She was very sweet and answered without missing a step, “Oh, it’s where we started!”
Not wanting to embarrass myself and blow my cover as a race crasher, I sweetly responded, “Yes, of Course. Thank you!”
Hmmm, that wasn’t the answer I was expecting.
So I kept walking anyway. I figured if we kept going away from my home for too long, I would merely retrace my steps and go back. As it turned out, the race ended downtown near the Capitol, which wasn’t terribly far away.
Along the way, I learned a few things:
1. It’s a lot of fun to walk in a race when all the cars have to stop and let you go by.
2. Some adventures aren’t planned. GK Chesterton said that “An adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered”. I remembered this and thought, “This could be an adventure”. The only inconvenient part for me was not knowing the destination.
3. Sometimes we don’t know how things will turn out, but we step out in faith because it could turn out to be something good or fabulous or interesting or helpful or beautiful.
4. It helps so much not to go it alone. Having all those other people walking the same route (even though I wasn’t technically with anyone) gave me confidence that we weren’t walking to some awful destination.
5. There may be some surprises for you in the end. There was a surprise. I had a memorable day, and I also found a set of car keys whose owner was only too happy to get them back.
So, the next time you have a chance to take a chance, see if you might just travel down the road you may have ignored or overlooked before. And if you have a minute, enjoy that very famous poem by poet extraordinaire, Robert Frost…
The Road Not Taken
by Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
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.