Opportunity Knocks – Choosing Your Path

The Path, by Karen Bryant.
The Path
photo by Karen Bryant

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
And sorry I could not travel both

And being 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.

If our lives sometimes have a theme, then this Robert Frost poem describes mine.

Last year I got a crash course in surrendering myself to God’s will, not mine, when I became pregnant (at 40). It’s easy to let God lead when you’re already going in that general direction. It’s much more difficult when He takes you down a side trail you hadn’t even considered.  You get started down the path, stumble a few times, find your footing, and tell yourself to quit looking back at the previous road.

You move on; no longer cautiously following the trail, but walking a bit more steadily. You’re looking around at the terrain, checking out the map, looking ahead at new places you want to go, making plans, and feeling pretty confident about this new journey.

Life is good.

And He strikes again – presenting you with an unexpected fork in the road. You had no idea it was there; it wasn’t even marked on the map. In one direction is a comfortable, well-worn path with no visible challenges.  In the other direction lies the unknown. There are no promises. The trail He’s presenting you with winds up a hill and isn’t visible. Suddenly you’re standing – frozen – wondering which way to go.  You have to choose one or another, and you know there’s no going back.

I took the new path.

If you’ve noticed I’ve been a bit quiet here lately, it’s because a few months ago I changed jobs, leaving behind a 17-year career.  It came as a huge surprise to many people, myself included, because I always expected that if I left my career it would be to stay at home with my children and write. Instead, I’ve gone to work for the “family business.” The change involved not only walking away from a rewarding career, but also selling our home of over a decade to move to a new city, leaving behind the familiar for other opportunities.

I struggled greatly with the decision to leave my comfort zone and embrace this completely new challenge. It has not been easy, and the irony that just last year, at about the same time, I found out I was pregnant was not lost on me. Both turns in my life came with great surprise, both came with hesitation, both offered great promise, and both brought about major life changes. 

Sometimes opportunity knocks when we least expect it.  And that has made all the difference.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

– Jeremiah 29:11
New International Version (NIV)

Special thank you to my dear friend, Karen Bryant, for permission to use her beautiful photography “The Path” in this posting.


Shelly Henley Kelly