My Path

Recently, I’ve been thinking about Shakespeare’s play, The Tragedy of Julius Caesar. It’s been over twenty years since I read it in sophomore honors English. We had to memorize Mark Antony’s speech after Caesar was murdered, and for some reason the beginning of the speech has stayed with me all these years. The part that’s been on my mind are the lines:

The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with Caesar.

How often is that true in real life? How often does the good get completely forgotten or tossed aside when a mistake is made? As if a mistake or wrong-doing can just erase the good. I don’t believe that. But I have seen a lot of it lately. I have seen how quickly people can forget, ignore and erase the good someone has done as soon as they make a mistake. They seem to forget that they are human, too, and have also made mistakes. It’s easy to play God when you’re not the one being judged.

It is impossible to know or understand what someone is going through. Notice how I didn’t add when you’re not in their shoes? Even when we’re in the same or similar shoes, nothing is completely duplicated. Every situation and every person is different. The last month has been the greatest struggle of my life. I have had difficult decisions to make. I know others who have been in very similar circumstances and have made the same choices I have, and years down the road, now, for them, they are living happy, fulfilling lives. I also know others who have made different decisions who are also now living happy, fulfilling lives.

Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken also comes to mind. Some people think it’s a poem about non-conformity, but it is, at it’s simplest and purest, about just making a decision. Frost wrote it as joke for a friend who he’d go walking with. The friend could never decide which path to take and often wished they’d taken a different one. In the poem Frost describes both paths as being “fair” and pretty much the same. Even in similar circumstances, the path we choose may be different—but that doesn’t mean one is right and one is wrong. Both paths can be right, and whatever path we take is what makes the difference.

If I could go back and change the things that led to the incredibly difficult situation I’m in right now, I would. But I can’t. I could obsess about it. I could judge. I could condemn. I could allow myself to be led by anger. But none of that does anyone any good. I repeat—none of that does anyone any good. I have seen so many blessings, and, I would say, even miracles in the last month. I have felt a peace and strength I never knew existed. My understanding and testimony of Christ’s atonement has grown significantly, and that means more to me than I could even begin to describe. I have felt, more than I ever have before, the Holy Ghost guiding me on the right path. I will hold people accountable for the wrong choices they have made, and I will also remember the good choices they’ve made. I will hold onto forgiveness, compassion and understanding because that is what brings me the peace I need in my life. I will happily leave the burden of judgment to an all-knowing, all-wise and completely all-loving Father in Heaven. This is my path. From where I’m standing it is the one less traveled, and it is what is making all the difference.


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