Two roads diverged in a wood and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
I consider myself lucky-or rather blessed-that my life has oftentimes turned direction towards that elusive “road less traveled.” Like Frost, I sometimes look back and wonder about that first path, yet I then trod on happily, striking new ground, crushing newly fallen leaves underfoot. I can think of numerous examples-homeschooling, graduating college early, marrying early rather than pursuing a professional career, and finding health and healing in unlikely places. When younger and living with my parents we would discuss numerous things, and I used to wonder about certain things, “why don’t more people think like this?” They are hardly counterculture yet on some issues seemed to have an insight that surpassed the ordinary, mundane way of looking at and doing things.
And of course there is our Islam, which leaves us like strangers in a strange land. As RasulAllah described: “Islam began as something strange, and it shall return to being something strange, so give glad tidings to the strangers.” No matter how much we talk integration or assimilation, we are and always will be odd and “different.” We are on that less traveled road, like it or not.
I like to think of this road as a thoughtful path, one that is taken out of thought and deliberation, rather than a blind straying in the wilderness or a hasty shuffle behind the herd of sheep. Yet we will never be alone, for we pray: Rabbanaa laa takilnaa ilaa anfusinaa tarfata ‘ayn. “Our lord, do not leave us to ourselves for even the blink of an eye!”