Have you ever read the poem “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost? I feel like I lived out the most popular line of the poem as I drove my daughter to school yesterday.
“Two roads diverged in a [city], and I
I took the one less traveled by
And that has made all the difference”
As I approached my daughter’s school I wondered why I shouldn’t just drive her to the carpool drop off. All year I’ve parked across the street and walked my daughter to school. As a result I’ve developed a great friendship with the crossing guard and a number of parents. For a moment I was tempted to take the carpool–it would be so convenient. Then I remembered that I walked my daughter to her school for a purpose–not convenience–and the relationships have become invaluable.
So I parked the car, walked across the street, kissed my daughter, and began to walk back to my car. When I got across the street I saw the crossing guard talking to a woman who was weeping. The crossing guard immediately looks at me and says, “Can we pray for her?” So, in the pouring rain we embrace this woman and pray for God’s comfort in her grief. She was grieving the absence of her son who was murdered a year ago. He would have been 30 this year. In addition to the grief, there is the frustration that no one has been held accountable for his murder. It was such a God moment that she just happened to get off the bus, the crossing guard happened to notice her tears, and I happened to be walking back to my car. I assured her that our very encounter on that corner was God’s provision for her to be loved, heard, and embraced right when she needed it most.
I almost missed the opportunity to pray with this woman. It was a tender and powerful moment. I almost missed an opportunity to see the grief and the hurt in my city. We hear the statistics of people who are murdered (56 in 2014) and the low percentage of the murders that are solved (50%). But we rarely get to feel the lasting grief of the family that lose a father and a son. In these moments statistics move from numbers to personal tragedies.
Moments like these remind me of how God led His people when they left Egypt: “God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, ‘If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.’ So God led the people around the desert road toward the Red Sea” (Exodus 13:17,18).
Yesterday I chose the road less traveled and it did make all the difference.