Last Friday was a proud day for me. I was proud of my grandparent’s oldest adopted child, Paige, who I have come to know and love as my sister. Friday night, she moved her tassel from one side to the other, ushering in a new chapter in her life, that of a high school graduate. I shouted as loud as I could as they called her name to receive her diploma. After years of hard work and determination, she did it. She graduated high school. I was overwhelmed with joy in witnessing such a proud moment.
How could I not be overjoyed? How could I not be a proud big brother? Over the years, I have seen her grow physically, mentally, and spiritually in leaps and bounds. If this young woman of God has taught me anything, it’s that being different certainly doesn’t make you less. It wasn’t very many years ago that she was completely in special education classes as someone with Asperger’s Syndrome. To see her go from that to a young woman graduating high school with very high grades, being a member of the National Honors Society, and a handful of top-notch scholarships, speaks volumes of the determination she has to her continued success. I don’t tell her this enough, but I am beyond proud and inspired by all of her hard work.
I still remember hearing about her induction into NHS a couple of years ago, wishing I could be there. Her sophomore year marked the first time she wasn’t in any special ed or resource classes. At the time, she was making the highest grade in her algebra class, one of the highest in biology, and was tutoring other classmates in math.
Her story of success, one that I know will be of continued success, is one that should inspire us all. She could have used any reason to give up or give in. She could have tried to be like everyone else. Yet, that’s not the way Paige is wired. I have seen her accomplish so much over the years. The phrase “it can’t be done” simply is not in her vocabulary. If she isn’t sure how to do something, instead of giving up, she’ll find a way, and when she does, she will “knock everyone’s socks off” by accomplishing yet another achievement.
One thing about Paige is that she doesn’t care if you think she can’t do something, because she will try to prove you wrong, and she will most likely succeed. The past couple of weeks, when thinking of how far Paige has come and how much farther I know she will go, I started to think of a poem I learned about when I was in Mrs. Petty’s dual-credit English classes in high school.
We are all faced with choices in life, some great ones and some not so great. The choices we make and the roads we choose to travel can have a great impact on our success in life. I started thinking of Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken.” Frost’s poem has probably become one of the most famous poems dealing with choices.
The last few lines stuck out to me when I was thinking of Paige.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–/ I took the one less traveled by,/ And that has made all the difference (18-20).
We all have choices to make in life. Will we choose to conform to what the world wants us and tells us to be, or will we choose to walk the path that goes against the norm and be who God calls us to be?
While this may or may not be the message Frost had in mind when composing this poem, I think it speaks to how much impact choosing the right path can have on life. Choosing the right path can certainly make all the difference. Not only academically, but also spiritually.
One thing Paige has taught me through her accomplishments is that instead of conforming to everyone else’s image, we should try and break the mold, exceed expectations, and follow the path that God lead’s us. This is exactly what Paige has done so far in life. Instead of giving up, or instead of conforming to everyone else’s opinions of her, she has decided to take the road less traveled and conform only to God’s expectations.
In order to decide what path God wants us to follow, we must learn to listen to what He has to say. Psalm 25:4-5 says, “Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” We must learn to go against conforming to the world and ask God to direct our paths. When we do so, there is absolutely nothing we cannot achieve when we pray and set our minds to it.
Paige has taught me a lot over the years. Most importantly, she has taught me that different is not less and that we must never try and conform to the expectations of others. We should be ourselves and seek God in directing our paths.
Paige, if you’re reading this, I am beyond proud of you! You took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference!
Frost, Robert. “The Road Not Taken.” Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing. Ed. Edgar V. Roberts. 9th ed. New York: Longman, 2009.
New International Version. Bible Gateway. Web. 8 June. 2015.
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