Following the crowd

Yesterday I was at Carowinds with some of our kids. For those of you who don’t know Carowinds is a local amusement park. We were waiting in line for a ride that splits into two lines at the end of it. There were lots of people in front of us in line but I noticed that they were all going to the left side of the line and no one on the right. Everyone assumed that the right side of the line was not for them, they thought it was only for people with special passes. There was no sign that said that, they just all assumed that and followed the person in front of them. When we got up to the split in the line, we decided to take the right side and we were able to get in front of all those poor people waiting in the left line. Even after we got in the shorter line we had to convince people behind us that it was okay to come in that line. They assumed that we were doing something wrong just because we were the only ones brave enough to try. It was just crazy.

It really got me thinking about life. So many times people follow the crowd because they assume the crowd knows what they are doing. People follow the crowd and end up in a bad situation, like waiting longer in line than is necessary, just because they were too scared to try something different. I have always had a rebellious streak, I know that surprises some of you, but it’s true. I wasn’t doing anything really awful but I was always just a bit different as a teenager than everyone else. I used to wear crazy socks and paint my nails crazy colors, just to be a little different. I didn’t worry about what others thought about my appearance anyway. I was not in the poplar crowd, to say the least. As I have gotten older, my life decisions were not what most people would consider “normal”. We have a large family and we adopted special needs/trans racial kids, none of that is normal. I chose to buy a house next door to my husband’s family, also not normal. We drive a 12 passenger van, definitely not normal. We just do things our own way a lot of the time and do things that are unexpected, but I have never regretted not following the crowd even in the line at Carowinds. I read a poem when I was young that really stuck with me and changed how I thought about life.

A road not taken by Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, 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 kept 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 traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
I decided as a teenager that I would take the road less traveled and I am so glad I have, most of the time. I would never have had the courage to do the things I have done or the things which are ahead of me if I had chosen to take the road everyone else was on. It is often a scary looking path as you peer down it and wonder what is ahead. The road the crowd travels is bright and well lite, at least it appears that way. It’s predictable, or is seems so. It’s the American dream of wealth and a “normal” family with “normal” kids. It’s not at all what our life looks like. And I will admit sometimes I wish for that, when things are hard with our family life. This road isn’t easy, but it’s all worth it. How boring life would be if we did the predicable things. When life gives you a choice, take the less traveled road, don’t follow the crowd, it will make all the difference.
“Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out” Romans 12:2
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