Walking an Unpopular Path

She looked longingly across a grassy field towards a well worn path crowded with people. “What is wrong with me?” she thought. “Why am I so different?” She turned away from the crowd and trusted the pull on her heart – a magnetic like force calling her to walk a less traveled path. It was beautiful in its own regard, quiet with more grass than gravel, but unsettling nonetheless because of its unpopularity.

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It is very hard as a child and young adult to walk your own path, follow your own heart, listen to your own truth. When you are young, being different than others in even small ways feels uncomfortable. For whatever reason, taking well worn paths and sticking with the crowd feels reassuring. Perhaps climbing life’s many mountains feels less risky when surrounded by others on paved, established roads.

There comes a time, however, when you hear your heart calling you towards a different path. In my life, the pull towards my own truth feels as strong as magnetic force. If I try to ignore it, it stays with me. I can’t shake it. The feeling that I’m supposed to be walking in a different direction takes over my heart and mind.

I know deep down inside this is a good thing. But….sometimes I wonder if life would be easier if I was pulled towards more popular paths.

I’ve asked myself, “What is wrong with me? Why am I so different?” more times than I can count. Different is bad when you are an anxious, insecure young woman.

I recently completed The Walk and am starting to change my perspective. Perhaps walking my own path doesn’t have to be viewed as a negative. Maybe it doesn’t mean I’m different or wrong or strange. Perhaps it means I’m unique and strong and courageous.

I’ve wrestled with many big life decisions solely because I felt called to unpopular paths. Career choices, relationships, parenthood…you name it. Time and again, I felt that magnetic pull that wouldn’t be ignored…each time thinking it was more evidence of how messed up and different I was on the inside. “What is wrong with me?”

I see now, however, that being different doesn’t have to be a negative thing. While it does seem like I am constantly taking a leap of faith when I turn my back on more popular paths, I see clearly now that Being True can only be a positive thing. It can only lead to good things. That voice inside is demanding to be heard. I hope and pray that I’ll continue to be guided by my heart. I hope and pray that I’ll be given the courage I need to listen to it.

I still worry and second guess my decisions when I choose to walk an unpopular path – looking over my shoulder at the crowded path, wondering if I should run over and join them. For instance, My husband and I recently made a big decision about whether or not to have more children. Once again, I feel like I am on a path that most others do not take. It isn’t easy. But at the end of the day, my decisions often feel Good and Right and True. It feels like I am honoring my soul and my family by choosing to follow the path I feel most pulled towards, no matter how unpopular it is. I’m trusting that my Truthteller is standing right alongside me, guiding my every step.

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As she walked down the path, she started to notice its delicate beauty. The birds singing and flowers blooming seemed just for her. Every now and then, she passed other walkers on the path. As she looked up past the canopy of trees to the shining sun, she knew she was exactly where she was supposed to be and smiled.

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