This month, I’ve been working on taking care of some old unfinished business from years ago. You know, that Robert Frost poem where he says, “And knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted that I should ever come back…”
The consensus on Frost’s conundrum, is that his decisions to turn down one pathway for another, was the best thing for him, and “made all the difference in the world.”
Or so we believe.
But, what if those pathways left not taken, continue to haunt us, tiny voices in the back of the mind that remind us that while we left that door years and years ago, we still left it open, unfinished, undone, incomplete….
And while we may be finished with it by default, it is not finished with us.
Those incomplete pathways can, in a spiritual sense, keep us bound to them..unable to really move forward, unable to really shake free…
This year, I’ve decided on a specific unfinished pathway that I think has haunted me for more than a decade. As the years have gone by, the tiny nagging voice has grown softer and softer still, so that I can barely hear it. At times, I’ve turned the voice completely off, and tell myself that it is irrelevant. What’s done is done there, and there is no value in going back to the past.
But, if I’m honest with myself, that unfinished business is probably what keeps me wandering around in the wilderness, unable to enter the promised land.
So, I must go down the old pathway, and finish what I’d started all those years ago.
It’s not an easy task, the weeds have grown dense around that pathway. So, when I began the journey back, I knew that it would take slow, deliberate steps back to that old path made from a younger, sprightlier me. In some ways, it doesn’t even seem like me. Replaying memories of that time feels like I’m watching a movie of someone else’s life.
Was that really me?
It was. Now, I have spent the better part of this year, patiently taking slow, slow, steps to removing the baggage to even begin to go back down that pathway.
Along the way, there have been long waiting periods, and I haven’t minded. After all, it’s been sixteen years, what’s a few months?
This week, the news has come in, yes the pathway is now clear. And, yes, I am now free to go back down the path toward redemption.
The redemption of unfinished business.
It’s a weird feeling, and I’m not quite as elated as I’d hope to be. It’s an uncomfortable feeling, as if I’m trying to go back in time. I’m not in that place at all anymore, and yet, I’ve left something of myself there, it seems. So, I go on this journey in time, to right what is wrong, and to fix the unfinished business to be free of what I’ve left behind, so that I can see what lies ahead….
It’s an odd feeling, an uncomfortable one. But, it feels right. I hope it’s easier this time around.