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.
~The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost
I have never been a hoarder, at least the kind TV shows are made of. I tend to throw out anything that I see no immediate use for. I’ll save things for a couple of years, and if I haven’t used or touched or thought about or dusted off something, it goes to the thrift store or to the trash can.
But lately I changed my view on hoarding. I have begun to selectively hoard things, honing in on a few, simple things I dearly love, that evoke memories, which have special meaning. It’s not much. A vase. A picture frame. A quilt. A piece of fabric. A beautiful journal too pretty to even write in.
I think this time of stillness, five years into retiring from the business world, has been a good place for me. This decision to hoard the simple has taken much thought, getting rid of the need to un-hoard, changing how I think about ‘things’ and more about what I think about memories, about what is important to a life well lived. And it’s brought to light some of the things I had been avoiding.
Sitting in this calm space, this season of stillness, I gathered all of those avoidances – including certain areas of my faith – together in a big heap, and one by one, I dissected them. Why did I avoid? Is it worth un-avoiding? Do I care about it enough to put effort in? What is THE most important?
Some were thrown out immediately. Some pondered and returned to the pile to consider later. Some alarmed me that I had ever considered doing them at all. And some amazed me that I had ever avoided them.
My faith was one of those amazing finds.
But it wasn’t that I didn’t have any, or that I hadn’t inhaled a massive overdose of facts and figures and bible verses and stories of bravery over the years. Because I had. I was, I am, a believer. God loves me. His son’s death and resurrection saved me. No doubt in my mind. Fact.
But the truth was that I had been avoiding getting to really know, to absorb, to fathom the one thing that I needed to hoard passionately. I had neglected to give special, focused attention to the only thing that really matters.
I know, I know, it sounds ridiculous, worthy of your self-whispering, “duh! Of course, it’s JESUS!”
I knew of Jesus. I confessed his name. I have known John 3:16 for most of my life. At one time, I even knew all the names of his disciples. I focused in on what others, like Paul, wrote about him. I focused on Isaiah 53 that foretold of him.
But I never really focused on HIM. I never really knew HIM.
I hoarded all kinds of little facts and figures about him, related to him, because of him, that led to him, that he said-did-healed-led-died. But, in my focus-deprived faith, Jesus just wasn’t all that different from any of the other Bible facts and figurines mixed into the storage box.
I didn’t hoard Jesus.
Until I did.
And that – that road less traveled – has made all the difference.
This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God,
and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.