“At the Crossroads of Life did he stand, upon the very spot where North met South, where East became West...But there was confusion within his heart as to the direction he should travel.” ~Author Unknown
Elegba is one of the religious figures I hold dearest to my heart. Otherwise known as St. Michael in other systems of belief, he is revered as the keeper of doors and crossroads. In the colorful pantheon of the Orishas (God’s aides in the Yoruba tradition), Elegba is depicted as a jolly old man bearing a cane and a straw hat, willing to show the wandering traveler the blessings at the end of each path in exchange for a few coins, a cigar or a sip of hard liquor.
Crossroads always resonate powerfully with me, probably because as humans we are ever confused as to what path is best to take on our journeys. We are, for the most part, blind to all that exists at the end of each roadway, and are often equally fearful and excited to discover what’s on the other side.
As we face the unknown – more so if the obvious appears ominous – we wish and fear tomorrow with the same fiery passion. We are anxious to let go of fear, and we eagerly anticipate our meeting with that which we dread as it puts us one step ahead toward freedom; yet, tomorrow is but a question mark and a part of us wishes we could postpone whatever it will bring forever.
Safely traversing a crossroad requires that we let go of our fears and hang on to our faith. The future is indeed a blank canvas, but as such it can be colored in the vibrant hues of hope. Although we are nudged by our human nature to expect the worst, when we stand in front of a major crossroad faith must take our hand and lead us to the other side. Else, we remain paralyzed and unable to move forward, frozen in place by fear.
At each crossroad, only one path is the right one for us at that specific moment – if we are willing to listen, our heart knows which way to go. Once we are ready to let go of our illusion of control, and are willing to allow destiny to unfold as it must, acceptance becomes our island of peace in the storm.
The next time you approach a crossroad, silently acknowledge Elegba being there and if you so feel inclined, leave him a coin and ask him to guide you safely across. The rest will be up to God.