1.15.2013

Two Roads Diverged

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In 2005, I almost took a different road.

I'm in the process of cleaning, downsizing, and organizing.
It's a year-long project.  Hopefully, by next December,
I will have less stuff so I can more fully appreciate my most meaningful treasures.

The other day, as I was sorting through a file, I stumbled across this paper.  

It's a flight receipt from the summer of 2005.  The flight was from Chicago to Los Angeles.

And it was a flight I never took.  I had been accepted into the Teach for America program.  I was assigned to teach high school English in Chicago, and I was interviewing for teaching positions around the city when I could get time off from my last month of college at Wartburg.

All of the new Teach for America teachers had a month-long training session in Los Angeles, so I bought my ticket at the end of April.  I graduated from college in May.  And then in June, the path shifted.
Seminary, something I had never seriously considered, suddenly seemed like the right option.

I cried a lot, as I struggled to discern the "right" decision.  I prayed for guidance.  And then I made the phone call to decline my spot in the Teach for America program.

In the weeks that followed, I took a lot of leaps, unsure of my footing all along the way.
I applied for seminary, took out some student loans, and moved to Chicago.  

The day I moved to Chicago was one of the scariest of my life.  I was a fish out of water.  My roommates weren't there yet.  And I hadn't lived in a big city before. At first, I was even afraid to leave my apartment.  As my family drove away and headed back to Iowa, I was petrified.  

What had I done?  Was this really the right path?  I was supposed to be in Los Angeles, training to be a teacher - and now what?  A pastor?  It seemed hard to understand and hard to believe. 

But then I started seminary orientation.  Day by day, piece by piece - it all started to make sense.  I was home.  The people there became family.  My library co-workers and Language, Resource, and Writing Center learning partners stole my heart.

In 2005, I didn't get on the airplane to Los Angeles.

Instead, it was the year that I...

-Fell in love with Chicago
-Met a family from India that changed my heart and life
-Made it through my heart's biggest break
-Learned Greek
-Used public transportation
-Discovered that a life of faith is about freedom, compassion, and grace
-Found peace in the truth that a life of faith is never about judgment 
-Fell in love with being Lutheran
-Met truly amazing friends that will be friends forever
-Laughed and loved with my whole heart

"Two roads diverged," as Robert Frost once said.

And now, in 2013, I can look back.

I imagine that other path would have been a good one, too.
But it wouldn't have been THIS path.

And THIS path led me to right here and right now,
sitting at my laptop in Stewartville, Minnesota,
with a heart so filled with thanks that my eyes are overflowing with happy tears.

Thank you for THIS path, God.

Thank you.    

8 comments:

  1. Bloom where you're planted. And you have! Wonderful thoughts on how decisions are made and life is lived. Glad and grateful you are here.

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    1. :) I'm glad and grateful, too! Thanks for the comment, Mike.

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  2. You graduated from Wartburg College? Me too! May 2012, bachelor of music education. What was your major?
    Small world...

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    1. Awesome! I graduated in 05 - English lit major. Be orange!!!!

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  3. I know my life would be very different if I hadn't followed Ben to Luther my sophomore year. Everyone thought I was crazy to move from Alaska to Iowa, of all places, for my boyfriend of four months. And now here we are! I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life before I transferred, and since then I've found a career that I love. I'm extremely thankful that I took that leap of faith in January 2008!

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    1. I'm so glad you took that leap, Aimee!!! :)

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  4. We're so happy you were able to take a detour to Marion on your way to Stewartville. You touched more lives here than you will ever know, our family included.

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    1. Thanks Hugh! My year in Marion was SO impactful and meaningful in my life. I think of my southern Illinois family all the time. Sending love and prayers! Hope you are well. Tell Paulette I said, "Hello" - and Beth and the boys, too!

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