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A Fork in the Road

August 26, 2014 | Samuel Baggenstos

(Note: names have been changed)

We paused for a little bit at the fork in the path.  The sign in front us read “Ribbon Springs” and pointed to the path which lead downwards and to the right.  To the left the dirt track wound upwards.  No sign pointed that way.  In the pitch black of the Arizona night the way did not seem clear. 

            “Ribbon Falls,” Cassidy spoke softly.  “I remember seeing that on the map.  We need to go by the falls in order to reach Phantom Ranch.” 

            I glanced up at the path to the left.  Two flashlights bobbed up and down in the night air.

            “I don’t know.” I countered.  “Those people went left.”

            Cassidy shook his head and pointed downwards towards the river.

            “I’m pretty sure we need to go that way.” 

            I took a small drink from my camelback. 

            “All right.”  I conceded.   “Lead the way.”

With a sigh we started down the right hand path.  Almost immediately the way became rocky, steep, and narrow.  Wandering down a slope for a ten or fifteen yards hundred feet the path took a sharp right and then came to a small bridge that spanned the river.  Maybe thiswas the right way.  We crossed the bridge, the boards bending underneath our feet and appearing to be on the verge of snapping.  On the other side the track brushed close by the cliff walls and then back towards the river.  Soon the path faded and disappeared altogether.  We paused for a brief moment.  Cassidy went to the right, and I to the left.  Quickly, I found a path that wound into some deep underbrush. 

“Hey, I think it’s over here!” I called out into the dark.  I followed the path a little farther.  Soon the ground became moist beneath my feet.  Cassidy was behind me by this point.  We walked a little farther the mud squishing beneath our feet.  Then a small, swampy stream crossed our path.  It was only five or six feet wide, but there was no clear path on the other side.  Tall bushes surrounded us on all sides, a slight breeze ruffling barely seen leaves.  We had come to a dead end.

 ____

As I sit in a study room at Corban University, I am struck by the impact a small change in course can make.  Math majors know this to be a true.  If one number is off, it can screw up an entire equation.  So do outdoor enthusiasts.  If you veer just slightly to the right or the left in the wilderness, you will end up miles off course, and hours of times will be wasted.  However, it doesn’t have to be negative.  A good decision will reap a multitude of benefits.

At the end of Spring Semester, after I had accepted the call from ACMNP, I had scheduled an interview with a manger from Lake Powell who was interested in hiring me.  There were two positions I was considering: housekeeper and busser.  I waited nervously in my dorm room.  Finally the call came.  I flipped open my phone.

“Hello?”

“Hey, is this Sam?”

“Sure is.”

“Hello Sam, my name’s Lisa, I’m the rooms division manager.  I see here on your application that you are interested in being a housekeeper at the lodge.  Is that still true?”

“Yeah, that's right.”

“OK, that'd be fine.  But, I do have an opening at the hotel front desk, would you be willing to work that position?”

I took a few seconds to answer.

In that short space of time several things flashed through my head. 

First, panic. Front desk???  I can’t do that.  I’m horrible at multitasking.  And sometimes I don’t communicate well.  What if I can’t handle the pressure?  What if they fire me? 

Second, excitement. This is the real position I wanted.  But online it said that I need at least a year’s experience.  What an opportunity!  I think I’ll get paid more!

Third, purpose.  God has called me to ACMNP, and he has already prepared my path.  I just need to walk onto it in faith.  I shouldn’t be getting this position, but I am.  Let’s do this!

I sat up straight in my chair. 

“Yes.  I could do that.” I spoke into the cell phone.  Although I didn’t know at the time, much of the course of my summer was defined by that moment.  

"The opportunity to minister to persons that I would never encounter in my circle at home was rich."
– Sharon, Perkins School of Theology 2002

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