A Tale of Two Paths

There comes a time in everyone’s life when they are at the crossroads — standing at the “Y” in the road — before them two different paths. You can only choose one path, and it’s clear these paths lead in different directions in different ways. As the crisp autumn breeze blows in your face, you must decide which path to choose. Winter is coming soon, and you can’t stay here forever. You must make a choice. You can’t see very far down either road, and each looks similar, yet different. One slopes gently downward, it’s path covered with small stones which crunch under your feet. It’s a wide path, and looks well traveled by many people before you. Curious though, no one is around to ask about it. You hear the wind whistling through the evergreen trees as you study this path, trying to decide if you should take it or not.

The other path is narrower, and looks considerably less traveled. It’s curiously devoid of stones across it’s trail; it starts level, then changes to a gradual incline as it spirals out of sight — off to the left away from the other path. It almost appears as if it touches the clouds. The wind blows harder as you take a few steps to get a glimpse of what lies beyond. It doesn’t look very inviting, in fact, it has no traits to make you want to choose it. From this vantage point, you can tell not many people choose to travel this path.

The two paths are different, yet you instinctively know each holds a different destiny. What lies along each path? Why isn’t anyone here to help you? Shouldn’t there be a guide to help you choose? But none appears, and no one is available to help you make your choice. As you stand there, the wind becomes colder; dirt begins to blow in your face. You can’t stay here any more.

How much would it take to wash me clean? How much would it take to make me whole? I know it would take more than anything to save my soul*

So you take a few steps back and look at both, and obviously the wide path wins. It’s been well traveled, and many people trek down its gravel-covered path. Taking a few steps down it, you can see other people off in the distance laughing and having a good time — in a lush green meadow just at the base of a giant mountain, where the path curves behind and out of sight.

Which path do you choose?

How much would it take to bear the pain of all the sin that I am guilty of? Tell me who on earth has ever found That kind of love*

That is essentially your choice before you. But before you answer, you must consider one critical issue not yet known to you — what lies at the end of each path? You see, judging from your initial inspection doesn’t tell you the ultimate destiny. It’s sad people never consider what lies ahead for them, but only choose based on first impressions, assuming the remainder of their path follows under similar conditions. But is that true? These two paths divert away from each other — you know going from one path to the other is difficult at best — and the farther down a certain path you travel, the more difficult it is to find the other path. What lies ahead on this inviting, wide, obviously well-traveled path?

How much would it cost to set me free? How much would it take to lead me home? Tell me who can make a blind man see I need to know.*

Standing at the “Y” in the road, you might as well be blind. You have no way of knowing from your current position what each path leads to. You need a guide, someone who’s been up ahead, and can advise you of setbacks and rough areas in the road ahead. Just then, two people claiming to be guides appear from behind you, both trying to convince you to choose one path over the other.

The first speaks softly, with well-worn hands — you can tell he’s the kind of person who doesn’t have many possessions and works with his hands a lot. He’s not very articulate, yet his words seem to have a weight you’ve never heard before. He’s dressed in simple clothes (his large coat sleeves extending past his wrists), and by them you can see he’s only familiar with the narrow path, the path he subtly suggests you follow. When you inquire of him about the other path, he just says it’s up to you, you can choose either path — but he won’t go down the wide path with you. If you choose him as your guide, the choice of path is made for you. He doesn’t seem to be a very good salesman.

But the other guide dresses in flashy clothes, and seems to know about both paths. He confirms what you have already suspected, the wide path is the most popular — he’s sent many people previously down it. He reminds you what you saw off in the distance — people having a good time. He definitely has an opinion you should take the well-traveled wide path, since everyone else chooses it as well. The narrow path? Well, it’s not very well traveled, and you wouldn’t want to be caught out in the wilderness alone, would you? After all, it’s a scary place. He assures you many people follow on his path, and there will be lots of other people to be with.

Who will you listen to? How can you make your decision? It seems so obvious which path to be on, yet there’s something about this flashy guy you just don’t trust. How can he be so sure? The soft spoken man reminds you if you choose his path, he will stay with you through your journey; he knows the outback well. Looking at him, you can tell he’s spent a considerable amount of time navigating out here. His callused hands speak of his time as a guide — you can tell he’s carried a lot of wood in his day.

The other guide is a salesman; he makes no promise of guiding you. Why should I, he says, this path is so easy you don’t need a guide to travel on it! You wonder where he gets his experience from — it’s clear he’s not used to the wilderness and looks like he’d be more at ease continuing this discussion from the comfort of his office. He’s also noticeably nervous in the presence of the other guide. You wonder why; it just doesn’t make sense, but he clearly wants to get you away and continue this alone.

So you stand at the fork in the road, listening, looking, and wondering, which path is the right one? Which leads to the destination you seek?

And the voice of God is speaking and I cannot believe myself “When there’s nothing left worth seeking, It’s time to trust somebody else”*

You nervously put one foot forward, and make your choice.

*All lyrics by Forty Save One, from the CD “Something Fierce” copyright (c) 1999. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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