Two men were headed down a road. The first man, his road was rocky, dusty, hilly and the landscape was barren. Unsure that he was traveling on the proper road, he periodically checked his road map and sure enough he was always on the right road. The days were long and cold. He was often famished and went days without food until he found a rest stop along the way. Whenever fear encroached his mind, he screamed out in despair, ‘this journey is too long and difficult, I can’t make it!’ As he wept, thoughts of his long awaited love comforted his mind. That was the strength that kept him going.
The second man, his road was paved with a white line to follow, for he did not have his directions. He was told that he was supposed to travel a straight and narrow road. Along this man’s journey he was upbeat and optimistic that he would arrive at his appointed time. He even whistled while he walked. Along the way, kind hearted strangers stopped alongside the road and gave him food to eat and water to drink. But like the first man, there were long stretches of time when he didn’t have any food to eat. This was grueling for the second man, for he loved to eat! Nonetheless, the second man kept on his journey. It seemed as if the miles were getting longer and longer. The second man had walked so much he had worn holes in his shoes. He began to complain, ‘surely there must be a better way, this journey is too difficult to travel.‘ Nonetheless, he continued on. As day turned into night, the temperature dropped to below freezing. The man tried to sleep under a tree that he saw along the desolate highway but he could not rest because he was shivering uncontrollably. Out of anger, he cursed the road! He cursed the weather! He cursed his shoes for failing him! He even cursed God! He exclaimed that he was going to make it no matter what! He endured that bitter cold night and was back walking on the road early the next morning. The second man walked and walked.
Both men came to a fork in the road on their respective journeys. There were two signs posted.
One sign read:
The terrain on this road will get rockier, there will be hills on this road and there will be stretches of darkness and bitter cold weather. But rest assured, you will reach your destination sooner and arrive at a most beautiful and peaceful place!
The second sign read:
This road will take you a round about way to your destination. It avoids the pitfalls of the first road. This road is safer to travel than the first road. This road will eventually expand into a wider more comfortable road, with smoother terrain to walk on and it has beautiful idyllic scenery. However, traveler beware: YOU ARE TRAVELING AT YOUR OWN RISK!
The first man was given specific directions on which way to go, he did not want to get lost so he chose the first road, though he feared what was to come ahead.
The second man was given the exact same directions. As he reached the fork in the road, he was exhausted and panting for breath. Looking up, he stood paralyzed contemplating the signs. This journey was long-g-g. He was famished, tired and exhausted. After much thought, he decided to take the easier road. Though it may take longer to get to his destination, he surmised he had walked long enough already and needed a break. He decided to take this road to ease his pain, heartache, setbacks and despair. It was going to take longer to arrive at his destination, but he was excited about the beautiful description of the roads’ idyllic scenery and eagerly awaited when he would be able to smell fresh flowers, see green flourishing trees and drink fresh water from glistening springs. So the second road he chose.
The first man started down his road of seeming despair. The second man sprinted down his road with ease. The first man had indeed experienced all that the sign read. With cries, tears, restless nights and dark days, somehow he managed to continue on. For he knew that his Beloved was with him in Spirit. In his mind’s eye he envisioned seeing his lovely GRACE.
The second man, on his journey down the road, was so in awe of the ambiance and beautiful landscape. He stopped many times to pick flowers, eat of the earth’s fruit and bathe in its waters. He enjoyed this road so much that as it got broader and broader; as the sign dictated, he got lost along the way. That was ok for him because he could not believe how beautiful the path was that he had taken and often congratulated himself for choosing the right road. He excitedly proclaimed, ‘I could walk along this road forever!’ forgetting the promise that he had made to the Love of his life. He was enamored with what he saw, what came to him freely and because of the ease and comfortability on this road, he felt as if he could live here forever. The more he walked, the more he lost track of time. He was in a different world and he ate of its fruit. He picked berries off trees, he feasted on wild mushrooms, he ate sap from the maple tree. ‘This is heaven,’ so he thought. As he trotted on, he began to notice that things were subtly changing; more and more down the road, dramatically changing. The grass began to wither, the flowers began to die, the birds were no more chirping. The beautiful sun shifted to the dark of night. He knew he had gotten lost but he did not think that he was that lost. ‘I’ll find my way back on that beautiful road,’ he said to himself. He had been walking for days and days. A chill would shiver his bones and the night would blind his eyes. He began to worry that he may never find that road again and more so, frightened that he was too far away from reaching his destination. But he kept reiterating to himself that he had plenty of time and had strong confidence in HIMSELF.
As he furthered along, vicious, growling wolves leaped out from behind a set of bushes! The second man was terrified that he would be their next meal. Fearing for his life, he ran as fast as he could in sheer terror. He found a tree and climbed it as the wolves blindly ran by. Further along as he was walking, he fell into a shallow covered hole in the ground. Struggling to free himself, he grabbed hold of a broken tree branch and pulled himself out. As he sat there, blood drawn scratches burning his body and covered in mud, he cried. ‘If only I could have chosen the first road surely I would have reached my destination by now!’ The man begrudgingly got up and continued on his journey. Nearing a wooded area, he was chased by a bear! The bear clawing him almost in two, he wrestled with the bear and miraculously escaped from its grip. Now he was bloody, bruised, scratched up, muddy, and fighting for his life! His strength was faint. He realized he was not as strong, smart, and wise as he first thought. He realized he was in a living HELL!
The road was so beautiful in the beginning he thought, so sound, so pristine. ‘I have been deceived!’ he screamed, ‘Now I’m never going to get out of here!’ As he continued down a side road, he finally reached a sign. ‘Thank God!’ He excitedly yelled! The sign read: No Man’s Land. The second man’s excitement quickly turned into despair. Head hung low, the second man continued walking throughout eternity.
By Puja Nagual
Beloved, this parable was written to warn you of all the trappings of this world: success, fame, money, recognition and power. While it’s not wrong to want to be accomplished in life, one must not allow these things to become idols. The world will entice you with its beauty, extravagance, jewels and excess, but if you do not realize that you were born to serve God you will be greatly misguided in life.
Our souls desire God; our flesh craves the world. It’s when we replace God’s love with things, people, status that we get lost on life’s journey. If you choose to take the first road it will undoubtably be excruciating, painful and hard. You will cry a lot, you will face doubt, fear, anger, even rage but you must keep going; for there is a great reward at the end! The man that chose the second road only had confidence in himself and his own abilities. How many of us are like that? He felt that he did not need God or guidance for that matter, and thought that he could make it through life on his own. He started off well, but all that he had accomplished was taken away from him. That second man was worse off than when he first started.
I Admonish you, serve Christ first then all these things will be added to you; there will be peace that comes along with your blessings that no enemy can take away from you. I love you and God bless you all!
This parable is dedicated to my dear friend and future minister in Christ, Sierra Shields. For she wholeheartedly chose to walk the first road.