As we walk down the paths of our life, we constantly reach new crossroads. Sometimes these are simple little crossings that will give us pretty and enjoyable detours. Other, more important, crossroads will sometimes cause us to make big changes of direction.
At each intersection we have a choice to make, in complete freedom. There is no good or bad choice. Our decision will simply change the direction of our walk. The area we are going to visit, that is to say, the rest of our lives, will be full of surprises whatever happens, and certainly wonderful.
There are a hundred thousand things to see and to discover, each one more beautiful than the last. Sometimes we are given beautiful landscapes, without any effort. They are simply there, before our eyes, completely free, without us having to go and look for them.
But it is often at the cost of a certain effort that the most exceptional panoramas will be discovered, because they are generally at the top of hills or mountains that we will have to climb. If we are lazy, we risk always taking the same paths; those that seem to us to be the easiest. Those who are scared are more likely to take the paths that appear to them to be the safest. Perfectionists and calculators will take the fastest paths, the ones that give the best “return on investment”.
We are all, at least at times, lazy, fearful or too calculating. By regularly making the same choices when new paths open up to us, we limit our lives to what they already are and we unknowingly pass by some really exceptional things. Moreover, in choosing to limit ourselves in this way, we do not grow and we risk never correcting our mistakes and our weaknesses.
But there is even worse: as surprising as it may seem, some people wilfully take the wrong path. Without hesitation they follow signs which read: “alcohol and drugs”, “cheating and lying”, “laziness and unhealthy pleasures”. Why do they follow these paths, when they know very well where they will lead them?
At each crossing, we have a choice to make. Some people claim that we are not totally free in our choices, that they are sometimes dictated by our obligations or our experiences. I am convinced, however, that we are TOTALLY FREE IN OUR CHOICES, because I have never seen anyone at a crossroads with a gun to their head.
We are free to choose which direction we wish to take and each choice will take us somewhere. Those who choose the paths of lies, laziness or addiction do so for gain, in the short term anyway. It is very often a short-term pleasure, which will certainly involve long-term suffering.
Those who choose the safest ways do so because that reassures them, even if they know that their life will be monotonous and without surprises. Those who choose more unpredictable paths do so because they know that by making some effort they will reach higher heights, which will lead them to greater successes.
Finally, those who voluntarily take chaotic or dangerous paths also do so because they think they will gain something from them, or because they do not know, or pretend not to know, that these paths will lead them to suffering.
What if we all began to change the way we approach the new intersections we encounter?
The good news is that we meet new crossroads every day. All roads lead to Rome and all paths can lead us to happiness and success.
No matter where we are now, it’s never too late to head to regions that are more beautiful, or wilder, according to what we desire.
What if those who follow the signs marked “short-term pleasures” remembered that these paths always lead to long-term suffering?
What if those who follow the signs marked “laziness, dishonesty and cheating” could see where they will be in ten years?
What if those who follow the signs marked “easy path” changed their habits and finally made the effort to achieve that famous project that otherwise they will never achieve?
What if those who follow the signs marked “safe path” allowed themselves some diversions to discover beautiful things that would make them say: “So that’s what real life is!“
What if we all followed the path that our heart, deep within us, tells us to follow?