The twisting and not so narrow road

by on Friday, 19 October 2007 Comments
Life is sometimes depicted as a road, which implies that we are all travelers. If it is a real road then it should have a direction and if we are really travelers then we should all have destinations.

The truth is, however, that many people don’t really know where they want to go and/or have no idea where the road they are now on is actually heading. Some, on the other hand, know where they should be going, but put off going that way or they are distracted by the attractions of side trips that lead them astray. Then there are those who seem to change direction every time something new appeals to them.

If contentment with one’s life depends upon the knowledge that one’s life has a valued purpose and that in one way or another one is on the way to its realization, then many of life’s travelers today are wandering about disoriented, discontented and quite unhappy.

It has been said that the road to hell or to destruction is paved with good intentions, such as “I mean to do the right thing, but later.” “I intend to pay my debt, but next year.” “Let me sow my wild oats first and then I’ll tow the line.” If we are lucky that later time comes, but often enough it is too late.

Actually it is just as true to say that the road to heaven or to success is also paved with good intentions, but in this case not postponed.

In the Christian Bible, Jesus is quoted by Matthew (7:13) as saying “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it.”

Keeping to “the straight and narrow” is often depicted as the proper way of doing good and avoiding evil. So long as you don’t deviate from the right path you’ll end up in heaven. But beware, the road is not wide. Be very careful how you step. There are many temptations and it is easy to be misled.

That is true, but in reality, the roads of life are seldom straight, but full of twists and turns and obstacles and detours. Neither are the roads of life so narrow that there is no leeway for personal freedom and individuality. And there is not one single road traveled by everyone. There are as many roads as there are individuals. Everyone has his or her particular abilities and aspirations to develop and a personal mission to accomplish, if possible.

Perhaps we could even say that heaven (as well as hell for that matter) has as many gates as there are people traveling different roads. But in any case all these entrances, as Jesus said, are narrow. It is as difficult to get into hell if you were trying to be good as it is difficult to get into heaven if you chose to be bad.

The question is not which road you are traveling, but whether you are going in the right direction. If you don’t know what to do with your life or how to reach your cherished goal, now is the time get a map and consult a trustworthy travel guide for advice and planning or rely on an enlightened guru. Travelers with strong religious faiths and convictions and those with strong philosophies of life have a great advantage because they know what the destination is at the end of their roads and carry with them directions how to get there.

The lyrics of the famous Scottish Ballad “Loch Lomond” have a refrain that says

“O ye’ll tak’ the high road and I’ll tak’ the low road,
and I’ll be in Scotland afore ye.”

The high road and the low road go their own ways and take their own time, but they both end up in Scotland. That is all that matters.

So, whether you are on a new road charting your own course or following in the footsteps of others, it is your road and you are the one responsible for it.

(Photo: Roy Berman)

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