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The Road Less Travelled

The house is no longer there, the cottage where my grandparents, Kate and Pat Fallon raised five children, the oldest being my mother, Mary. The fields once worked by my Uncle James, are now grazed by my cousin Tommy’s cattle. The road is still there, though now impinged upon by furze and other overgrowth. This was once the way to Grandma’s house. Those of us who lived in the next village called it the Bog Road because it gave access to the turf banks where many in the parish harvested the peat which fueled their household fires and provided heat for the house as well as for cooking. Today oil has taken over with the result that this road is indeed less travelled.

This I have reflected on for a few days, while I was working on a homily, and came upon a passage regarding a book by Scott Peck, a Christian psychiatrist. The book is titled “The Road Less Travelled” and speaks about the road of life itself. Scott Peck echoes something that Jesus said again and again, that passage on the road of life is not easy. Indeed, it can be costly. It may mean letting go of old standards, old values, maybe even old memories. It may mean taking risks like getting the Covid vaccine. It may mean not conforming to something that our present-day society is promoting or advocating. It may mean taking on new responsibilities. We must be willing to pay the price as this Holy Week reminds us. We must be ready to take the road less travelled.

Those who have visited Kalaupapa over the years have had the experience, and I hope the pleasure, of journeying over the two and a half plus miles of sand, gravel, and stones from this township of Kalaupapa to the original Hansen’s Disease settlement in Kalawao on the east side of the peninsula. The ride may have been a bit rough because the daily traffic of tour buses or vans, as well as the rains have not been kind to the road. Now, as of about one year ago, the tours have ceased, complements of Covid-19 and the rocky road to Kalawao is smooth at least as of the last time I travelled on it.

I will never forget that Bog Road that led to Grandma’s house and I do hope to negotiate it again sometime as it was very much a part of my childhood years. Neither will I forget the rocky road to Kalawao, as it has been a part of my ministry here by way of the tours I have hosted and hopefully will get to do again when we have put the Covid in the rear mirror. I wish you a Blessed Easter season and remember, in life be willing to take the road less travelled. Aloha.

Fr. Pat Killilea
St. Francis Church, Kalaupapa.

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