Anyone who knows me would be forgiven thinking that given the writing prompt “Fork” I would offer recipes. But that’s not what I thought of. Here is what I thought of: a long time ago when I was very young, I attended the wedding of two good friends. Many years later I learned one came to a fork in the road, a stop sign actually, on the way to the wedding. And the thought process was, I turn one way and I’m free, but I hurt my fiancee and royally piss off my parents. Turn the other way, and I’m marrying the wrong person. Self-awareness chose a might inconvenient moment to rear it’s head. The path chosen of that particular fork was the path of least resistance, and as it almost always is, it was the most painful.
It didn’t last long. They went their separate ways, hurting, a few years older but somewhat wiser.
We all have our forks, and the easiest way to think of them is that one way is right and the other wrong; advancing age has made many of my closely held, black and white truths look like old sweatshirts, once black or white, now washed so many times they are all varying shades of gray.
Once I came to a fork, standing in the parking lot of a Chinese restaurant. It wasn’t visible when I pulled into the parking lot. By the time I left it was a huge freaking chasm, and the next few years were the most difficult of my life. But now I am here, and I wouldn’t be if I hadn’t stepped into the chasm, learned what lay in the depths, and faced down some dragons I thought I’d slain, but hadn’t. Every day I spend with Paul, every time the cat wakes me up to get him a treat, every morning spent wrestling with a photography class assignment, reminds me I am exactly where I never imagined being, but wouldn’t change for the world.
If we Christians believe all things work towards good under God, why do we persist in always thinking in black and white terms? Yes/No. Black/White. On/Off. Right/Wrong.
Maybe it’s just my own twisted mental image of Life, but I see us all more as beings traveling along in our own personal amorphous blob moving through the Universe, ahead of us opportunities and lessons, and each step left, right, backwards, forwards moving us along, with doors or whole roads closing or changing behind us, and entirely new, previously unseen ones opening before us.
Of course while we’re going through something horrible it’s hard to think, Oh Boy! I wonder were all this pain and agony are taking me? What new truths about myself or my loved ones will be revealed? I can hardly wait to find out! No, in the weeks, months, and years following my Chinese restaurant experience I went to bed every night begging God to give me an immediate answer, fix it, make all the hurt end, most especially the hurt I caused. In retrospect, I see that not only was it essential for me to take that fork in the road, but also for all the others affected. The learning didn’t begin and end with me, because we’re all connected, and all of our individual amorphous blobs bump into each other’s and merge, and sometimes merged ones split, like cell division. And the forks keep appearing, disappearing, or changing direction ahead of us, yet the ultimate destiny is the same, and always forward, closer to God.