Unexpected brake lights began dotting the road ahead of us like red stars appearing in an asphalt sky. We joined the traffic jam before we could even identify that an overturned SUV was blocking their path. My husband quickly did a U-turn barely avoiding the stalled vehicles ahead of us who hadn’t thought to do the same. Making our way back to the highway I tried to remain calm as I calculated the amount of time it would take for us to get into town.
Popped out of my husband’s mouth as an expletive as the same question replaced my careful calculations. The next few onramps to the highway were blocked in preparation for that night’s construction crews. Another detour contributing to my mounting stress that we would be late.
I hate being late more than a lot of things (even though I’m often rushing in at the last minute). And it seemed like obstacles and detours were meeting us at every turn.
Probably noticing the beading perspiration on my brow, my husband tried to calm my anxiety noting that walking in 5 to 10 minutes late would not be the end of the world.
He has a soothing way of pulling me back down to earth when situations that really aren’t life-threatening tend to carry me off like helium-filled balloons.
But a few blocks from our destination yet another road under construction and a detour through a random neighborhood caused me to question if we were even meant to go out on this night at all!
Have you ever found yourself in that same situation?
You have so diligently and strategically laid out your goals and plans only to come against one roadblock after another detouring you into avenues unknown?
I wanted more than anything to admit defeat.
After so many detours it almost seemed obvious that our plans were not meant to happen after all.
But when I looked back on my life and the obstacles and detours I had already overcome, my husband was right (as usual),
This detour was not life-threatening.
It was barely an inconvenience.
Just like the days my computer crashes
or the power goes out
or I get one SOS call after another during heavily scheduled days.
Detour doesn’t mean stop!
It is just an inconvenience that takes us on an unscheduled route to the same destination.
Why is it so hard for us to rationalize that? What convinced us that when things don’t go according to plan it wasn’t supposed to happen after all?
Experience has proven the journey almost always takes longer,
costs us more and leaves us stronger than we ever imagined.
But first we have to be flexible and persevere.
What if instead of giving up and turning back we choose to marvel and learn when life sends us a detour? Maybe instead of stopping we are just supposed to slow down. If anything encountering all of those barricades caused me to be more observant of life happening around me noticing places and things I would’ve flown by on any other given day.
That night, like most of my detoured journeys, turned out way better than I imagined. The only one that recognized we were late was me. I can’t help but think of the fun experience I would’ve missed if we would’ve turned back at the first or even second detour.
So next time life doesn’t go according to plan if you stop make sure it is only to survey your surroundings, no telling what you will learn or who’s path you may cross when life sends you a detour.