Imagine you’re at a crossroads. There are four directions to go: North, south, east and west. You know that each of those directions promises something different for you.
If only it was always that easy. There is a place on earth where you can’t go different directions, where every direction you go is initially the same direction. It can be very difficult to choose under those circumstances.
Do you know where I’m talking about? It’s the north pole. A bunch of roads lead opposite directions from there, and they all go south!
This is the kind of maddening scenario that makes me not such a nice person to be around. All my roads appear to lead into snowy wastes. None of them is distinguishable from the other.
And yet, they all lead different places! One will lead to a country I know. Another, to a country I don’t.
These are the moments in my life where I have to recognize that any decision is equally valid. I can’t avoid this place, as it’s part of my globe. I can’t remain here either.
The key is to know the place for what it is. It is a still place, very difficult to fathom, where even things like day and night don’t function. The only real choice in a place like this is to make a choice.
I can’t imagine a scenario that requires more courage, to pick a direction based on nothing but hope. One thing makes the scenario bearable. Once I leave that place, my compass will work again.
If I find myself seeing things I dislike, I may begin to traverse to a different path. And it’s relatively easy near the pole to change direction if I pay attention to the little signs and take advantage of my position. If I wait until things are obvious and comfortable, the trip east is much longer, with more obstacles and distractions to prevent me getting where I want to be.
This is a question of faith at first, and then of courage and attentiveness. All are qualities that can be hard to cultivate. Yet I can’t think of a better use for them than to survive the still places.
Have you been to a crossroads like this? What was it like? What did you do?