Saturday, September 25, 2010

Broad Roads versus Narrow Ways

'Find your path.'  'Choose your own direction.'  'Follow your heart.'

We hear these directives all our lives.  How much freedom do we really have in choosing our own pathway?  Or rather, how successful are we when the choice really does lie solely with us, especially when we come to the proverbial fork in the road?

                                                                Photo found here.

I have had a conversation with an old friend recently.  She got me thinking about some important concepts.

Quoting her:  "You spend your young days having parents and teachers direct your life, then you move to where either a job or kids direct your life. It becomes a habit, but I think idleness has been given an unfair reputation. When your mind is always busy with outer things, how do you know what it does when it has nothing to do?....  So, tell me, why is outer direction to fill your days always thought to be more acceptable than self-direction?"--Sara Hansen

Interesting, don't you think?  Few of us may admit to having completely carefree lives, where the direction we take is truly ours to decide.  But even during our "busiest" times in life, there are choices to be made with whatever remains as "free time."  How are we filling the down time in our days?  And can we proudly profess to making good use of it?  What IS good use?  Is quiet, thoughtful, meditation a waste?  Is reading a book a waste?  Is writing a blog a waste?  Is sitting in the sunshine a waste?

Do you feel like your life's path has been straight?  Clearly defined?  Easily identifiable?   What about narrow?  Have you had a full range of choices?  Or not?

I believe the best road markers are set by the commandments of a loving Heavenly Father.  They give us  direction for setting our path, while at the same time giving us the freedom to live our lives with happiness and joy, not being bound down by poor life choices and addictions.  But as narrow as that path may seem to some, there is plenty of room to explore our own dreams.  Our moves are not scripted; the choices are ours alone.

My challenge now as an empty-nester, with enough free time to have a little elbow room in my schedule, is in how I choose to use that time.  I hope that I will take advantage of this great gift of time.  I hope that I will hold myself accountable for how I use it.  I hope that I will give myself license to make a few of these decisions, recognizing that my choices have merit.  I may live to serve my family, and my God, but just as essential, and often forgotten, is the importance in addressing my own dreams and realizing their validity.  Thankfully, I have a very supportive husband....

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