Two Roads Diverged


In 2005, I almost took a different road.

I'm in the process of cleaning, downsizing, and organizing.
It's a year-long project.  Hopefully, by next December,
I will have less stuff so I can more fully appreciate my most meaningful treasures.

The other day, as I was sorting through a file, I stumbled across this paper.  

It's a flight receipt from the summer of 2005.  The flight was from Chicago to Los Angeles.

And it was a flight I never took.  I had been accepted into the Teach for America program.  I was assigned to teach high school English in Chicago, and I was interviewing for teaching positions around the city when I could get time off from my last month of college at Wartburg.

All of the new Teach for America teachers had a month-long training session in Los Angeles, so I bought my ticket at the end of April.  I graduated from college in May.  And then in June, the path shifted.
Seminary, something I had never seriously considered, suddenly seemed like the right option.

I cried a lot, as I struggled to discern the "right" decision.  I prayed for guidance.  And then I made the phone call to decline my spot in the Teach for America program.

In the weeks that followed, I took a lot of leaps, unsure of my footing all along the way.
I applied for seminary, took out some student loans, and moved to Chicago.  

The day I moved to Chicago was one of the scariest of my life.  I was a fish out of water.  My roommates weren't there yet.  And I hadn't lived in a big city before. At first, I was even afraid to leave my apartment.  As my family drove away and headed back to Iowa, I was petrified.  

What had I done?  Was this really the right path?  I was supposed to be in Los Angeles, training to be a teacher - and now what?  A pastor?  It seemed hard to understand and hard to believe. 

But then I started seminary orientation.  Day by day, piece by piece - it all started to make sense.  I was home.  The people there became family.  My library co-workers and Language, Resource, and Writing Center learning partners stole my heart.

In 2005, I didn't get on the airplane to Los Angeles.

Instead, it was the year that I...

-Fell in love with Chicago
-Met a family from India that changed my heart and life
-Made it through my heart's biggest break
-Learned Greek
-Used public transportation
-Discovered that a life of faith is about freedom, compassion, and grace
-Found peace in the truth that a life of faith is never about judgment 
-Fell in love with being Lutheran
-Met truly amazing friends that will be friends forever
-Laughed and loved with my whole heart

"Two roads diverged," as Robert Frost once said.

And now, in 2013, I can look back.

I imagine that other path would have been a good one, too.
But it wouldn't have been THIS path.

And THIS path led me to right here and right now,
sitting at my laptop in Stewartville, Minnesota,
with a heart so filled with thanks that my eyes are overflowing with happy tears.

Thank you for THIS path, God.

Thank you.    


  1. Bloom where you're planted. And you have! Wonderful thoughts on how decisions are made and life is lived. Glad and grateful you are here.

    1. :) I'm glad and grateful, too! Thanks for the comment, Mike.

  2. You graduated from Wartburg College? Me too! May 2012, bachelor of music education. What was your major?
    Small world...

    1. Awesome! I graduated in 05 - English lit major. Be orange!!!!

  3. I know my life would be very different if I hadn't followed Ben to Luther my sophomore year. Everyone thought I was crazy to move from Alaska to Iowa, of all places, for my boyfriend of four months. And now here we are! I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life before I transferred, and since then I've found a career that I love. I'm extremely thankful that I took that leap of faith in January 2008!

  4. We're so happy you were able to take a detour to Marion on your way to Stewartville. You touched more lives here than you will ever know, our family included.

    1. Thanks Hugh! My year in Marion was SO impactful and meaningful in my life. I think of my southern Illinois family all the time. Sending love and prayers! Hope you are well. Tell Paulette I said, "Hello" - and Beth and the boys, too!