In the position that I hold there is a fair amount of driving involved. Everywhere I have driven in the last week has involved road construction seemingly everywhere. This year I have encountered more detours than I can remember. There are lessons I have learned traveling along the detour trail these past few weeks:
- Follow the signs. Detours get you off of your natural route. The road you are familiar with is the one where you know all the twists and turns. During a detour I can not rely on memory and the past, I have to follow the signs. There are times when I feel like I have a better idea of where I should be going and the sign seems to be directing me in an out of the way manner. Having decided a time or two recently that I knew more than the sign did, I have gotten myself into a little trouble. What kind of trouble do you ask? Going down a county road just recently sprayed with oil for one, and getting myself lost and heading in the opposite direction of where I intended. You can learn a lot from the signs. So this is my attempt at a public service announcement, please follow the signs! May I also make an announcement about life? When in life’s journey you encounter a detour, please follow the signs!
- Use Caution. When driving on the usual road, I know the lay of the land, I know what the speed limit is and when I must slow down for curves and small towns. Detours are unfamiliar trails and therefore must be traveled with some caution. Detours must be handled with reasonable caution. You are traveling an uncharted path and you need to pay attention to your surroundings. Notice I said caution and not fear. Caution helps us to maintain vigilance, fear can paralyze us. The people who create detours understand roads, direction, and travel. They do not just allow anyone to set up detour signs and map out the alternate route using guesswork alone. There are standards. The same is true in life. All of us have been detoured and though it was nerve-wracking at the time, we are in a better place today for having taken the detour.
- keep moving. When I encounter a construction ahead sign, I do not just give up and quit. “If I can’t take the highway or road I planned on taking then I am not going.” A detour will reroute and perhaps add some time to our travel, but if we follow the alternate path we will get to where we intended. Periodically, I have met people who when they experienced a detour in life, became so frustrated and angry that they pulled the car of their life off to the side of the road turned the car off and stopped altogether. The detour was too much for them. They had their plans and they were angry that they could not carry out the pre-planned path. Would you like to hear God laugh? Tell Him your plans! Things change, nothing much stays the same, you are going to have to be flexible and open to change of plans. This is the way of life. You and I are not in control.
- Enjoy the trip. Over the years I have discovered great restaurants, out of the way shops and beautiful countryside that I would never have seen had I not been rerouted. Some of my friends today would never have been met had I not been re-directed from a well-worn path. Some of the blessings I enjoy today came about as a result of traveling down a different road than the one I anticipated traveling.
Detours are a part of life, rather than allowing them to make you miserable, relax and enjoy the ride. You will see things you never imagined and learn things that you would of otherwise never learned. detours offer a way forward. Let us keep moving forward.