Less travelled by

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

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 travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

It’s a funny old life this one.  Martin is currently holed up in the house of an ex-prisoner, where the XP is so far trying to avoid talking to him because of what he knows that Martin knows but doesn’t want to acknowledge that he knows Martin knows… fun and games, Martin’s hoping to bring him back here tomorrow.  Another XP is in a live-in relationship with a transvestite and says he wants to get out at least some of the time, but he’s also financially dependent on his partner which is a real concern in a land where “job-seekers allowance” isn’t even a pipe-dream.  Both of these guys are Christians, and we do believe that both of them have a genuine faith even if their current life-styles are more complicated than the bitching about their neighbours and looking down their noses at the church down the road which most Christians are free to indulge in without having their salvation drawn into question by those around them.  The question is how to stand with these guys (and others) in a way that says we know that you don’t want things to be this way but we understand you can’t do it right now? 

I finally tracked down where my itinerant friend is currently living, after several months of trying to make head or tail of her directions (beyond the big tree, near the horses, past the red car that sometimes parks there… ) coupled with the fact that she’s changed location half a dozen times (part of the job description).  And having found her she’s currently hiding from me having conned a third party into phoning me up to try and extract more money from me.  She knows I’ll be annoyed about that, we’ve known each other for a few years now.  Question is, do I wait for her to come to me (she always does in the end) or should I go to her first, now that I know where to find her. 

When I hear my husband’s phone conversations “Let me check that I’m understanding you, what I think I’ve heard you say is that you’re working as a male prostitute…” it makes me feel truly proud that he’s at the real chalk-face dealing with the grit of societies casualties.  But as he says, why is it that prisoners is considered sexy ministry, whereas chasing around town after funny old itinerant ladies wouldn’t get half the press coverage in a mission magazine, and yet we purport to believe that to Jesus both people would be worth exactly the same. 

And when I see so many mission related bulletins and presentations it strikes me that so much stuff is about being big; big conferences on big stages with big names and middle class people with clean faces singing songs and gazing upwards in adoration (presumably of the expensive paint on the shiny ceiling, can’t imagine what else there is to look at up there), it is kind of hard not to feel a tiny bit smug that while all that racket’s going on, we’re standing with (walking with/limping along with) the people who Jesus might have walked with had he walked in Argentina.  But at the same time, I am also totally aware that had we been able to fore-tell the future and see ourselves today before we arrived, we might well have run several miles in the opposite direction.  So the fairest thing I can say is that if we are on “the road less travelled”, then it is either by accident of fate, or possibly because the road has chosen us. 

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