Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

– Robert Frost

choice-quintessential-leader-1I have always danced to the beat of my own drum. In elementary school, I thought this was the greatest aspect of my personality. In fact, I would do things just to be different from my peers – to stand out not only for being the best, but for being the only. (Now you understand how I ended up playing the viola.)

I LOVED middle school, because everyone was different. We were all awkward little balls of puberty, trying to stand out rather than fit in. Those were my favorite years, because I had the freedom to be myself without being chastised or ostracized. In middle school, I was president of FCA because I played the team sport called orchestra.

I found out in high school, however, that orchestra is not a sport and FCA is only for the physically fit. Once a few cool seniors graduated, I discovered that orchestra was only for dorks and no one would ever be able to understand what instrument I played (they still can’t, but I’ve learned to deal with it). On top of that, I said weird things, never dressed quite right, and spent too much time at church.

198428_506617642439_1666_nAll my life, I tried so hard to stand out, but in high school, I wanted to become invisible. All the things I loved made me different and being different is frowned upon in high school. And I didn’t know how to be the same.

But then I read the immortal words of Robert Frost. Two roads diverged in a wood…

It seemed like I was always stepping the opposite direction from my classmates. When they went left, I went right and it was no wonder we rarely met in the same place. I never really thought this was okay until Mr. Frost told me that he did it too. He walked down the path with barely a footprint to guide him and it made all the difference.

533480_10100113914471699_864830232_nSo, fast forward to 2015. Not many people are jonesing to work in the church, even fewer are women, and even less than that want to work with children (and someday pastor a church). No, this is definitely not the road most traveled by. But it’s my road.

It’s the road where I find my deepest sorrows and greatest joys are so intertwined that I can’t help but move. It’s the road where my heart, and not my feet, leads me in the direction I should go. It’s the road where I finally feel like I can be me – and it’s okay.

The path hasn’t always been clear cut before me, and it’s certainly been tempting to veer left and take a different road, but I can’t imagine feeling more alive walking any other direction.

The little girl who wanted so badly to find her own rhythm is pounding so loudly on my heart saying, “thank you for letting me live again.” That ambitious little 4th grader who chose the viola over any other instrument that she had actually heard of is lighting up inside of me, reminding me how brightly I can shine.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference