I was beginning my Junior year at Brigham Young University, a up and coming theater major, on the acting track and on the brink of getting in the main circles of that major. I had awesome roomates, a new apartment, had just finished a stellar summer fulfilling my dream as an EFY (Especially For Youth) counselor, and all was right and bright in my world. Until it wasn't.
I got a call from a fellow EFY counselor with a proposition: a burgeoning liberal arts university in Virginia, grounded in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, was offering full ride scholarships to all EFY counselors to come and build up the college and its programs. I graciously declined. But, the decline 'twas not to be. Things started crumbling around me and I didn't understand why. When my mother suggested I give Virginia another think, I shrugged it off and went for a drive. And on that drive I had a very profound experience that left me no doubt that my entire life was about to change. I was heading back East.
Two days later, after dropping out of BYU, selling my apartment contract, and packing everything I could in a little Geo Prizm, I was on the road to a little mountain town in Virginia that I could not pronounce. Though everyone was certain I was crazy, noone thought I was more nuts than I did. This was the sort of thing pioneers did, not normal, somewhat level thinking persons. When I pulled up to the lovely, tiny, crumbling campus, I burst into tears. What had I done?? When I entered the "auditorium" I cried some more. What was I doing?? Hugs from friends who had stories similar to mine gave me comfort and helped me feel less insane, but I still wondered if I was absolutely off my rocker.
Lately, I've been thinking about what life might have been like had I stayed on in Provo. I miss theater so much it hurts sometimes. Like there is a gap inside me, a part of me that just sits and waits to be used. I feel incomplete, sort of wasted, and a little bit sad that I have not been able to follow that dream that once meant so much to me. Still, in those Blue Ridge Mountains I found myself. My acting reached a deeper level. I remembered how much I loved reading. I forged friendships that truly changed me. I found my best friend who I got to marry and get to look at every day. I became someone who goes to Africa, reads by rivers, and builds big fires all by herself in the woods. And every time I go back to those mountains, I feel complete again. I don't know that I would have found that person if I hadn't listened when called. I am not sure where I would be, but I would not be here. I would not be as deep. Robert Frost was right. Roads make all the difference. I really like my road.