The Road Not Taken- Yet
I spent a few days back home in Iowa this week. While there I thought I would go explore the woods around the farm where I grew up and look for my “thinking rock.” It was on this rock that I received my calling to the priesthood 15 years ago. The woods where my rock is located used to be a horse pasture and the paths that I explored were well worn by both me and the horses. Now, those paths are gone (as are the horses) and the pasture has been overtaken by the natural growth of the woods. I couldn’t even make it to the rock where I sat as a teenager.
As I looked out over the farm where I grew up I realized that it has changed- as have I. The pastures that I explored are now woods. The love that I have for the earth and its importance to my own spirituality still exists- the spark ignited in those woods still burns- but it is different.
Fifteen years ago I was 16 and called into a ministry that I thought I understood. I plotted out my path and followed it according to what was expected of me- college, seminary, ordination. I imagined a long life of full-time priesthood in which I lovingly cared for my parish and community. But the path I was prepared for may not be the path that the Church is called to follow in every circumstance. I was prepared for “traditional” ministry but God’s path for St. Anne’s is far from “traditional.” St. Anne’s has never been a “traditional” parish, nor do we ever intend on being so- praise be to God!
So often, we search for the paths that we used to follow. We romanticize our past and seek to recreate it. Like the wooded paths of my childhood; those paths are overgrown and gone- we are called to create new paths. The spark that called us to create those previous paths calls us to new adventures.
I am so blessed to serve a parish that creates new paths. A love for the unknown adventures of the future is in the very DNA of St. Anne’s. As we move in a new direction of my being a bivocational priest we hold onto the spark of the ancient church- lay ministry and ordained ministry working hand-in-hand to follow God’s call. Not one lording over the other but equal.
As I begin to pursue my Education Specialist in Professional Counseling we all embark on a new adventure- one with paths that we create; not one created generations ago by people seeking God’s purpose in their own time and place.
I hope this poem by Robert Frost is as inspiring to you as it is to me. I am so excited to be trekking this new path with you!
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.