By Brenda Black
A sufficiently level, predominantly straight mile stretches like a white rocky ribbon past my front door. If I face right, I look west, and if I turn left, I'm headed due east. I stepped to the right and “took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference,” as Robert Frost similarly attested. I've repeated the journey daily for several weeks and discovered more than the sun in my face or gravel grit on my teeth. I guess you could say where the rubber meets the road, I found the difference is made in which direction you gaze.
Look down and behold rocks, gravel, sand, and swollen, blistered feet which ache bearing the weight of earth's gravity on me. Look down and I see a shadow, a dark and distorted representation of reality. While I cast my eyes toward toes and tennis shoes, I have no idea how far I need to go or whether I'm still even on the right road.
Once in a while, I may catch a sparkle amid the rocks that shimmers like diamond or gleams like a nugget of gold, only to find it is just another ordinary stone. If curiosity killed the cat, shiny vain hope for instant riches will, at the very least, cause one to kneel in the dust. Where I think there is value, turns out to be only an edge chipped away, severed by crushing tires or the friction from dozens of rocks colliding with each other.
Look down and we see what is, not what can be. Our vision is limited to a radius of inches instead of open to the miles ahead.
Look ahead and enjoy textures, hues and shapes in the variegated fields and rolling ridges. Branches bend from twittering movement and suddenly I'm aware of birds singing more than gravel grinding beneath my feet. Look ahead and the breeze greets my flushed cheeks offering a subtle reprieve from the sun's bright heat as it cools the sweat beads accumulating across a formerly-bowed head.
The road that seemed mundane when all I could see were like-colored stones step after step, now meanders with mystery and interesting twists. Tints and hints of natural beauty are the sights of a creative God who makes our journey more pleasant if we'll only look ahead and fix our eyes on a destination. Watch it draw near rather than stare at your feet and you won't lose sight of the goal – onward and upward.
Look up to blue skies, eternity, infinity and destiny. An azure veil thinly conceals a whole new world that I would never notice if I stared down as I walked life's road. Beneath my feet, those fleeting glints of gold are pale imitations merely produced by geological geometry and sunshine. But real streets of gold are beyond that canopied blue screen.
Look up and there's no way to measure the distance. No time to pace our pace. No worry for weariness. There's no slippage under foot to blister our feet. No scorching or freezing wind to burn or chaff our face and hands. Pure peace, clear sight, winged flight – when we look ahead and look up instead of staring down.
“You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.
“So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.” (2 Peter 3:11b-14)
Your choice of the narrow way that is less traveled by makes all the difference in the world.