There are times in our lives when we seem to come to a fork in the road. We need to make a decision. Go left, or go right. In some cases, there’s no difference and our choice is of little consequence. They either lead to the same place or even if they don’t, nothing notable happens on the chosen path. No new cherished memories are made. No personal growth is created. However, sometimes it can really make all the difference and can have a real impact on our lives.
One of my favorite poems is Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken. In it, a man comes to a fork in the road. Two roads diverging. One left, one right. He reflects for a moment, before deciding to take the “road less traveled by” over the other and claiming at the end that, “It has made all the difference.” It really is a beautiful poem and in my opinion, one of Frost’s best. Personally, it causes me to reflect. I feel almost like the traveler when he stops at the fork trying to decide which way to go. The traveler tries to reason regarding which direction to take. One path seems less traveled than the other, but then realizes that both are actually about the same. Both equally used. But ultimately, that traveler makes a decision to take one over the other and it seems that he let’s his heart decide.
Each of us have found our selves at a fork in our lives with a decision to make. But how do we decide which way to take? Do we always try to reason which way is best? Or is it better to sometimes let our heart decide? I’m reminded of the song from Disney’s Aladdin, A Whole New World, when Aladdin asks Princess Jasmine, “Tell me, princess, now when did you last let your heart decide?” The implication being that not everything can be decided with the mind or else you’ll miss out on new things. In the case of Aladdin, if the princess chose with her heart, she would see a whole new world and discover new things about herself and the world around her, but if she chose with reason alone, she would take the “safe path”, but miss out on so much more. It’s ok to be afraid of the unknown, but it can be hinderance that in some ways can keep us from reaching our destinies if we let it consume all of our decisions.
Each of us will come to many proverbial forks in the road in our personal lives. Sometimes it can be a major decision, which requires deep reflection, reason, and at times help from others to help us decide the best path to take. But other times, it can be as simple and seemingly insignificant as taking a side street home. The point is that sometimes it is best to let the heart decide which way to take because we won’t always have all the answers beforehand. Besides, how many stories have we heard about people who followed their hearts and the decision changed their lives forever? Will it always be a good choice? No. But you might be pleasantly surprised with what you discover on the path chosen by your heart.
For the traveler in Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken., choosing with his heart which path to take made all the difference, even though both paths looked the same. No amount of reasoning could help him choose which would be better, because they looked the same to him. But overall, I think the meaning is that even if both paths seem the same, they ultimately aren’t. A new path can lead to knew adventures. New opportunities. It can lead to pleasant discoveries like a path that is less crowded than the other, letting you relax more. It can lead to knew thoughts and personal growth and reflection.
With all this said, we need to make sure that our hearts are in the right place. God says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Luke 12:34) The heart can be unreliable. In these instances, it’s good to call on God and seek His direction on important matters. But on smaller things like choosing which path to take on a walk through a park? Relax. Let your heart decide.
Are currently at a fork in your life? How do you decide which way to take?