“Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?The Cheshire Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.
Alice: I don’t much care where.
The Cheshire Cat: Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go.
Alice: …So long as I get somewhere.
The Cheshire Cat: Oh, you’re sure to do that, if only you walk long enough.” ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
This quote may not be on my list of favourite book quotes but it has been stuck in my head all day long. Why?
Well, I guess it is because of how I have been feeling lately.
Over the past two weeks two potential opportunities for 2015 have arisen and I cannot help but feel a lot like Alice as she navigates Wonderland on her own pursuit of self-discovery. You see as it happened, Alice didn’t just walk upon that rabbit hole, she had been following one she believed could show her something better than the life she knew. And the quote above, a conversation between Alice and the sometimes missing-in-action Cat takes place as Alice reaches a cross road.
I guess that is where I stand now, like Alice, at a fork in the road not knowing which way to go.
Reading Alice in Wonderland one may become confused, what with all the ‘War of Roses’ references and all. But if you look closely you might just find a few small self-truths.
Firstly, Alice never felt like she belonged anywhere, not in Wonderland or the world she had left behind at the top of that Rabbit Hole. If I am honest, I can sympathize with her. For what seems a long time now, I have felt I like I am not meant to be here; In Perth at this particular time to clarify. Ever since I was little I have dreamed of living in NY (dreamed of discovering Narnia in my wardrobe too but that is another story) and since I was about 13 years old I have wanted to travel there and be a Camp counselor on an American Summer camp.
But neither of those has yet happened and once again I will spend the year in Perth. And like Alice had to learn to accept others and even the ‘mad’ side within herself, I am going to need to accept that there are some things I cannot control.
Secondly, Alice faced a lot of negative people and great adversities along her journey and even though she was confused, felt lost and out of place, she turned her head to the sky and looked to one who may know more than her. As she stood at the fork in her path she asked the Cheshire Cat where he thought she should go, leaning not on her own understands of the strange world around her but on one who had gone before her and one who knew the paths they spoke of.
At the end of 2013 I went through a long period of bad news after bad news and starting this year only brought new let downs. And although I can say in complete truth that I trust God, I can’t lie and say that I feel confident in my understanding of His actions. Alice is my inspiration right now. She faced two paths, both possible outcomes of her decision seeming daunting as one
- – she couldn’t see into the future and two
- – she didn’t know what it was she really wanted and therefore didn’t know where she should go.
But would you like to know what I find so amazing about that particular passage of the story?
It is actually because of what happens next.
Alice doesn’t choose a wrong or right path; in fact she chooses the only one she could have ever walked. She was never alone, never forgotten and it is important to remember that that was not the only fork in the road Alice came across along the journey. Alice may have sometimes questioned why she was even in Wonderland but made the most of every opportunity – tea with a mad man, learning from experience the true power of food (food that said “Eat Me” and made you grow), entering the Red Queens court and in the end finding the self-confidence she had lacked before. She understood that it doesn’t matter which road you take if only you keep moving forward.
As I write this, I write it with the hope that you will look into the whole Alice story again and read it with new eyes. Alice ran after a Rabbit in the hope of finding a new adventure and after falling into what turned out to be a very strange world in deed, she stood her ground in the face of danger and misdirection and never gave up.
It is with this new insight of Alice’s story that I will look over my two possibilities, which would both include me chasing after a Rabbit, leaving the world I know to enter a new one – more than likely facing troubles and new forks in the road – and would also see me having to trust in someone who has walked before me. So even if I do stand at a fork – looking both ways in a state of worry – I will turn my eyes to my own Cheshire Cat in the knowledge that it doesn’t matter which way I choose to go I will not walk it alone.