Lately it seems my life has been touched with an abundance of intense and challenging situations. Some of them have been in my literal physical world and some have been in my internal world. It has brought an unusually large amount of stress into almost every area of my life. My professional life, though good, has been filled with so many various stresses that it has caused me to step back and rethink many things and adjustments I need to make on that path. My physical life has had things flare up that I need to address. Even the normal respite of church-life has brought a state of discontent that has made me step back and look at things with a new set of eyes. Professionally, physically and spiritually it feels as if I am traveling on some sort of detour in almost every realm.
Think for a moment about your day to day travels and of the actual, real-life traffic detours you have encountered along the road. If you are like me, you get frustrated and sometimes angry over the fact that you have been re-routed or slowed down. I am irritated and if I am in a hurry it is even worse. It just feels like I am losing so much time and yet those detours are necessary in spite of it all. If I were allowed to continue on a path that has been closed for construction, there would not only be a greater delay in my journey, but I might not even make it through at all.
For most, we usually struggle with detours whenever they appear, constantly questioning whether we should continue on or follow an alternate path. Only you can decide what to do but whatever it is proceed cautiously. You are in a dangerous area and your senses need to be heightened in order to make it back to the main path of your journey. The detours I have taken in my life have allowed me to see meaning in the roads less traveled. Detours cause us to search deep within ourselves to find what will fill our spirits personally and professionally. They cause us to question the reasons we will not walk away. They allow us the opportunity to see new scenery and explore new options. Eventually the detours on my journey brought me back full circle to the place I began but they did so with a new knowledge of who I was and what I was willing to accept. It’s both confusing and comforting to see the path behind us as we journey forward. It is also amazing to understand there is a certain knowledge that can only come from what seems to be the wanderings of our lives.
I am thankful for every detour I have had. If it wasn’t for the detours and construction zones of my life, I would not be who I am today. I would not have the understanding or empathy I have today for those around me who are trudging through detours of their own. It is interesting to reflect on the situations in our life and see how different they look from the other side. Things often make so much more sense when looking back but how can you possibly make sense from detours if you don’t endure the potholes and continue until you come out on the other side? If you stop and sit down in the middle you may never get out. You may end up broken down on the side of the pathway, damaged and distracted to a point it becomes nearly impossible to find your way.
So as I proceed cautiously down the path before me, my desire is to do so with an awareness that allows me to grow and move in the directions I need to in order to arrive at the destinations that will fulfill me most. It is my prayer that we all find peace with the twists and turns of our respective journeys and that we still find wonder in the steps along the way. There is a purpose even in our seeming wanderings. J.R.R. Tolkien said it best: “Not all those who wander are lost.” What one person perceives as wandering might actually be one of the most important aspects of another person’s journey. Let us be careful to honor not only the meaning of our own detours but also the ones of those around us. Let us hold the light for others as they travel through the construction zones of their lives for we never know when we will need someone to hold the light for us.