Wednesday, June 15, 2016

June 15: Fork in the Road, Difficult Choices, Speckled and Twining

I don't want to cut this too short.  Let me pull the camera back and look at that fork in the road from a distance, in the larger context of the speckled and twining world.  It could be that the fork will disappear,. or that I will see it to be but one of many interstices in a network, so that it is impossible to say which line is the main part and which is the fork.

Dillard is talking about choices, those times in life when you stand at a crossroads.  Now, we all know what Robert Frost did when he faced a fork in the road:  he took the road less traveled. Dillard, on the other hand, takes several steps back, to try to get a wider view of her situation.  Instead of a crossroads, she sees a network.  Everything connected to everything else.

Choices are not easy.  Especially choices that have profound repercussions.  Recently, I changed jobs.  Even though I was returning to a job that I knew well (I'd done it for close to 17 years), I was still unsure about my decision.  Like Dillard, I wish I'd had the ability to step back to see the wider picture.  Instead, I just saw that less traveled road, full of rocks and leaves and skittering mice.

Now, after I've made my choice and walked down that road for a little while, I know that I made the right decision.  I'm happier.  Less stressed.  Since I started, I haven't had a bad day.  I've had busy days, but nothing that made me want to go home and open my liquor cabinet.  I stood down my fears, and I'm in a better situation because of it.

I don't want to get all philosophical here.  Not gonna give a lecture on difficult choices and roads.  If I had the choice to go back in time and somehow change all of the painful moments in my life, I would.  Difficult life experiences just plain suck.  Deaths of loved ones.  Marital strife.  Addictions.  I don't think any of my disciples reading this post would argue that these things are enriching or necessary.

However, the shitty times in my life have given me some perspective.  I appreciate my wife and kids more because, at one point, my family was on the road to being not a family.  When one of my siblings piss me off, I forgive a little easier, because loss may be just around the bend.  I am a stronger, better person because of these challenges I have faced.

So, there will always be forks in the road, choices to make, hurdles to overcome.  That's life.  As Dillard says, it's a speckled and twining world.

Saint Marty hopes there aren't too many forks in his near future, unless they are coupled with cheesecake.

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