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Take It

By Tomi Leslie

Yogi Berra, a Hall of Fame baseball player, contributed much to the MLB. But I remember him more for his contribution to our American language? Berra was a sportswriters’ favorite mainly because he had numerous expressions and twists of phrase that were memorable. Many of his comments did not make any sense. At the same time, though, each one carried a smidgen of truth.
Tomi Fork in the road
My husband Robert has often repeated Yogi-isms, those colloquial sayings that lacked logic. One of my favorites has been, “If you come to a fork in the road, take it.” Okay, I understand the first part of Yogi’s metaphor, Fork in the Road. It is a literal expression suggesting that when I face a large decision, I will base my final decision on a minimum of two options. But, it is the second part of Yogi’s saying that confuses me. “If you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

Take it! Why take it, or make any major decision without an explicit road map or GPS? Take it, I eventually understood meant that I should not over-analyze choices. “Stop looking, Tomi, for the perfect outcomes. Trust your gut.” More specifically, I have applied this thought process to the forks I faced where nothing seemed right or wrong, or everything seemed right or wrong. Also, I applied this Yogi-ism as I wrote an identity profile for the protagonist in my suspense novel, Beyond Snowy Bridge.

I had a grandiose idea that I should develop the female medical research scientist as a stoic professional. I called it, fork one. Then when fork two popped in my mind, I cringed. Let’s not go there, God, I thought. If I selected fork two, I would unearth my personal scars. I wrestled as I stood gazing at the fork. All of a sudden, the fork I needed to take was clearer. My protagonist was a professional and a well-qualified scientist. But I hoped to reach the hearts of readers on an eternal perspective. The protagonist needed to be more transparent in her faith, which included her doubts and questions about God. She needed to become relatable and real.

I had come to a fork in the development of my protagonist. So I trusted my gut. I believed that God led me to take fork two where the protagonist would face death. As if in a raw state, she would begin a painful journey to overcome cancer. And in my writing process, I would revisit from years earlier, my personal battle with breast cancer.

Yogi Berra passed away in 2014, but his Yogi-isms have not passed. Those sayings that make no sense and carry a thread of truth still cause me to think while I chuckle. I like that we learn from others, even those whom we usually would disagree. And, I like that when I read God’s word, I do not simply find smidgens of truth. Rather, I find Truth in entirety, packed with God’s wisdom and knowledge. And page by page, I find myself unearthing my natural ways and seeking an eternal perspective.

I am not opposed to colloquial sayings. And I am not opposed to published books with mere ink printed across white pages. In my writing, though, I hope to gift others and myself with much more! I hope that woven between the lines we catch glimpses of riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of our God.

Tomi LeslieTomi Leslie describes herself in three phrases, Get real, Oh well, and Laugh a lot. She welcomes changes in her life. She sees everyone as unique and enjoys spoiling others.
Tomi hikes not simply for exercise, but for the discovery of a quiet Colorado aspen grove. She jeeps mountains up and above 14,000 feet in elevation, not for the bumpy 4WD roads that cause her belly to shake like a Jell-O mold, but for the panoramic view from above. Being
above it all reminds her of those years she flew as a flight attendant with Southwest Airlines. She likes viewing life not from grounded earth, but from the big picture above. During her personal victorious or humbling realities, she strives for an eternal perspective. Her earthly father died when Tomi was age eleven. Soon, following that childhood trauma, she transferred trust from her human father to her Heavenly Father.
Still, several decades later, it is that intimacy with her Abba Father that drives Tomi to maintain deep, authentic relationships with her husband, her adult children, and her long-term friends. Tomi resides in Colorado Springs.

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3 Responses to Take It

  1. Samantha says:

    Sometimes it feels so much safer to keep on the more familiar, smoother path.

    I have a similar experience with one of my characters now. I want to keep her struggles minimal, because she is uncomfortably like me, and I didn’t want the vulnerability showing. But I knew it would make for a richer story if I didn’t try to hide so much.

    This post confirmed my decision to become more transparent and do the hard thing.

    Thank you so much for sharing!

  2. Tomi Leslie says:

    Thank you Samantha! We writers squirm when we must go deeper, right? But if glorifying God is our purpose, He makes clear the direction we should take.

  3. Often we want to be nice to our characters, I believe because that’s what we want for ourselves.

    But I’ve learned that if I don’t face obstacles, I never grow as a Christian. I’m never closer to God than when he is holding me in the palm of his hand during a crisis. Thanks for a reminder we need to pass this along in our writing.