A man was traveling down his path when he decided to stop, turn around and reflect upon his journey thus far. When the man turned around, he saw two roads that he had walked. One road that he looked down showed him all of the pain, loss, and failure he endured. The other path showed him all of the beauty, peace, and joy he had experienced. He sat at the crossroads of reflection for many days. He didn’t want to make any more mistakes or experience further pain. Fear settled upon him. He became frozen in that moment and was unable to continue his journey.
The man had been praying and meditating at the crossroads of reflection for four days, when he heard the crackling of tree branches and leaves. As he peered into the distance, he saw a woman walking towards him from within the thicket of trees that separated the two roads. She was majestic. The light that emanated from her illuminated the entire area. As she gently walked towards the man, he bowed his head to the ground, for he knew he was in the presence of someone or something sacred – someone or something more ancient than human beings.
With reverence and joy, the man slowly lifted his head upwards towards the woman who was now standing in front of him. Tears were streaming down his face. He knew the woman was sent to answer his prayer. The man begged, “Please tell me how to proceed. I don’t want to experience more pain, loss, or failure.”
The woman’s beautiful laughter echoed throughout all the beings of the forest, “Dear, child, there is life and beauty on both of the roads you’re looking back upon. There is also pain and disappointment upon both of those roads. Look over there, child.” The man looked to his left, and about twenty yards away from him, he saw a huge pile of human bones.
The woman continued, “There have been many human beings who spent their entire lives at this crossroads of reflection, waiting, praying and meditating, but never venturing beyond this place. They were all paralyzed by the fear of experiencing pain, loss, or failure, so they made no decision at all, which is a silly decision, don’t you think?”
“Yes, not making a decision is a silly decision, but…”
The woman interrupted him, “You’re asking the wrong questions and meditating upon the wrong things, so of course you’re going to come up with no answers, or conjure up more confusion. Morbid reflection only leads to morbid projection, which is a sneaky trick used by fear. When you can see what is just a little bit beyond what you call right or wrong, sweet or sour, beautiful or ugly, happy or sad, success or failure, then you’ll see me, remember my name, and know that I am one of the few things in this life that you have any control over. I am sacred. I am older than human beings. I am at your complete disposal to use correctly or incorrectly whenever you wish.” After saying those words, the woman vanished back beyond the crossroads of reflection.
The man remained at the crossroads of reflection and began to pray and meditate about what is a little bit beyond right or wrong, sweet or sour, beautiful or ugly, happy or sad, success or failure. Like a flash of lightning in the middle of a moonless night, the answer illuminated his mind, heart, and the truth of his path. The man’s laughter echoed through the forest in true relief and pure joy. He smiled as the realization came upon him that she is sacred. She is older than human beings. She has always been at his complete disposal. He had used her correctly and incorrectly many times in his life. The sacred woman’s name is Meaning.
The man remembered the times when he experienced pain, loss, and failure, but because he assigned Meaning to do her job correctly, the pain was used to create joy for others, the loss to give more deeply, and the failures were nothing more than learning experiences. He also remembered the times when he was surrounded by beauty, peace, and joy, but because he assigned Meaning to do her job incorrectly, he experienced frustration, isolation, and loneliness. There were many times when he was surrounded by water but still thirsty. And there were many times when he was in the middle of a desert, but with the Creator, the desert was transformed to an oasis of life-giving water.
As Meaning’s reminder settled deep within his heart, the crossroads of reflection instantly transformed back to the one road he had walked. He continued to walk his path the instant the illusion of fear melted away when he assigned Meaning to do her job correctly. He assigned her to every part of his past, present, and future with the Creator’s love and forgiveness.