Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Roads and Red Tides

Robert Frost (1874-1963)

The Road Not Taken

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.

For almost two years now I've stood at a crossroads. Partly coming from circumstance and shifting situations, yet I know that God is there too. During this time my life has come to a halt. Working has ceased, my routine has crumbled down to the bottom line - leaving only what is necessary to move from day to day - and though sometimes others call me over to help them with something on their path, when I return to my own those here I am.

I’ve been here now for what feels like a very long time. For these two years all my journeying has been inward not outward. Who I am inside has been moving on or shuffling round but my feet have not budged. I see so much darkness inside, at times I feel as though I will never get anywhere I desired, that I am destined to be stuck in a cave away from everyone else. I wonder, “How far was Gollum before he couldn't come back?” I’m always wrestling though because I can't give up - even if I'm not sure I'll win. Always pondering too about that outward decision and which path to take. Sometimes it feels as if I'll never take either and will be stuck here forever. Is this how it was supposed to be?

I look at myself and wonder who I've become. Perhaps this is who I've always been only now the curtain is pushed back, the uniform is off, and here is what has always lied beneath, certainly I am not now where or who I thought I would be. So I look back to try to find myself, to try to find some anchoring truth to help me decide, to help me move on dependable ground, to make the right decision even if it isn't the easiest.

The story wouldn't be complete, however, if I didn't mention there wasn't hope. Though I see much darkness now and the curtain is removed yet is this not a necessary step? Better to have the curtain pulled back and begin the long road to restoration than wander around concealed, even to myself, and never know the truth or have integrity. That is one of my greatest desires, to be sound, to be integrity. I suppose it is a part of the Truth which I value so much, more than anything. Truth in reason, truth in knowing, truth in being, even my own being. I want to be true.

Therefore, seeing reality is a part of that, yet that reality now battles with the other desire within me - to be good. At times I want to be good so much that I am willing to sacrifice truth that I may have it - at least - the appearance of it. It can't last though because reality…is. What's more, my desire for truth will not let me rest like that.

Truth and goodness, they keep me moving on. Though sometimes reality dictates the pace and, oh, how slow it has often seemed, especially now, especially recently.

So here I am sat at that crossroads with my chest pulled apart and looking into my own heart. So much of it has been blacker than I imagined, and how surprisingly mysterious. Yet the truth is that it is not all black. The goodness wasn't all a veil. Some of it is red. Some deep red, and I think, just maybe, the black is in parts becoming red too. I think it's getting better.

Seeing that makes me think of something else that's true - it lifts my eyes to a truth that sometimes I've forgotten but when I remember it, I know there's hope and it gives me joy. The reason I know that there is red, there reason I know it has gotten redder, is because of the Blood.

In all my failings, in all my worthlessness and lack of direction I am truly pitiful and barely a man. I am a small tiny drop in an ocean of generations. Years go by, men live and die and are born. Nations and ages pass. Rules and rulers, customs and accomplishments, and I so small in all of this, in that perspective. Yet, that perspective which is true also shows something else, that over all of this, while I am small, yet it is great. As small as I am in the face of all these things, He and it, are great, even more so.

Jars of Clay wrote a song - Jesus' blood never failed me yet.

I search for truth and I am finding it. I search for goodness and I have found it lacking and I despair. Oh, but then I see the redness and I look and I see the blood, and I know that it is coming. More and more. Above and beyond all things I have given myself to it before and so now I am bound to it and I know that His crimson tide will wash over me, and just as nothing else can stand in its way, nor can I.

So I sit here still, not knowing how things will end up, still having to make a decision, still being who I am, but it all seems less now for in my heart there is a little light, a light of hope, and it wont go out.

God bless,


1 Corinthians 4:2-5