Daily Prompt: The Road Less Traveled
Pinpoint a moment in your past where you had to make a big decision. Write about that other alternate life that could have unfolded.
The Road Less Traveled By for me, was a decision to stay in my marriage. Against all odds, against all well-meaning friends’ advice, against rationale and reason, I stayed. I knew that I was the one who would have to live with my decision. The intense part of the struggle was often that my children would have to live with my decision as well, for my husband is an alcoholic, and we could tell countless stories of the negative ways that that reality has impacted our day to day lives.
I have been married for over 23 years, and during that time have seen more than I care to say. So have my children. What drew me to my husband when we first met was his heart and passion. He never met a stranger, and had a zest for life that came through in his talent on the football field and in his relationships. But the extreme nature of his approach to life took a negative twist when he started working as an undercover narc in the 90s. Not good. It fed his addiction, it fueled his anger.
Fast forward 20 some years and if you were to look at my family, you would still see remnants of the devastation caused by alcoholism. But you would also see a family that truly appreciates the ‘little things’ in life. You would see siblings who truly care for each other, for they have been through so much that has forged their relationships because they know they need each other. You would see a Dad and husband who is now free from the chains of alcoholism who is living life as a giver and doing his best to be there for his family, both professionally in providing for their physical needs, but also emotionally in being there for them in a way that was absent for so many years. I think sometimes, the beauty in life comes from knowing our desperate need, and then being willing to receive grace. After all that we had been through over the years, I had very little pride and admit I have very few answers. But God sustains, and gives grace for the moment, and sometimes, that’s all I need to know.
I will never try to tell a person what road they are to take in this decision. This fork in the road is a big one, for the cost of staying with an alcoholic spouse contains sacrifices that are far-reaching. But I am one who has learned through the years to trust my gut and to pray through and act based on my own beliefs and understanding. There were periods of separation for my husband and I that were necessary and crucial, and I know that many relationships are so devastating that the only answer is to move forward by leaving the alcoholic behind. I knew that I would have to live with the decision, and as a believer in Christ, I so believed that there was hope, that God “makes all things new”, and that for me, trusting God meant staying with the man that I had committed to be faithful to on our wedding day so many years ago. I love and adore my husband and am so thankful for this new start we have in our lives.
Our story is not yet over, but I love looking at my kids and saying, “Who is this man?” when their Dad talks about God’s grace, or when he handles a situation with a smile which used to drive him to a much different response. My friends and I have prayed for years and years to see this happen, and now, we are seeing it! I sometimes shake my head and realize how little faith I had because I’m so shocked at the difference in my husband! (Oh me of little faith!) I am so thankful that I didn’t take the road more traveled by because I never would have known the joy and peace of being with the father of my children and seeing all of us move forward in our lives with freedom and a sense of purpose. He was trapped in his addictions by his own devices, but is now free from the alcoholism by the grace of God. We are moving forward on our road less traveled and I so hope that my children can take the lessons of knowing a life of freedom. I hope that they will be people who trust their gut and go forward with what they believe and think, for they are the ones who need to live with their decisions as I have had to live with mine. I hope that our family will be a picture of hope for those who are in hopeless situations. Bottom line, I hope they will be aware of and listen to the God who will direct their paths if they will but seek Him. He is the One who is with us wherever we go, whichever path we take, but He knows the way a bit better than we do. “I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”
“Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding,
Acknowledge him in all of your ways and He will make your paths straight.”
The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.