(An “Own It” series for Dudes)
My last post had to do with my recent travels, with quite a bit of levity. This post also has to do with those travels, but with a more introspective tone. Balance.
My travels have taken me through 13 states. Guess what? They all have construction going on. Shocking. And guess what? Google maps is there for you, in the congestion and the isolation, ready to be silent or ready to give you an alternate route.
Another term for alternate route is detour. I literally took one detour that had me circle all four exit and entrance ramps at an interstate exchange to detour around a closed exit. That was a first. Pretty sweet, actually.
In my trek from Ohio to New York, I had a long time to think. One thing I was chewing on was a phrase I kept throwing at my Columbus friend, “You have options.” And as I passed a couple of detours and watched various driver’s reactions to the traffic flow changes, including my own, some interesting thoughts about detours and options in life came to mind. So here they are in randomness:
- Some detours in life come at you with no warning-GPS lost the signal, the accident ahead just happened, the road seemed closed for no reasons. You don’t know what it’s about, how long it’s going to last, and maybe even uncertain if the new route really is taking you in the right direction. These life detours could be anything from financial to physical to vocational to relational. You really aren’t sure if you have options or not. This delay is full of uncertainty.
- Other detours in life come with a few warning signs-“Road work 5 miles ahead. Left lanes closes in 1 mile. Detour ahead.” Reasons may be clearer because of better information, which may also give you options to consider for getting through the delay sooner. The delay is real but with less uncertainty, less stress on the traveler.
- For a little bit of honesty, let’s acknowledge that we drivers actually bring some detours on ourselves. Maybe we failed to listen to the GPS, or arrogantly said, “She doesn’t know what she’s saying.” Maybe we purposefully chose to take a detour to see something that looked interesting that takes us off the planned course. And we are mostly okay with these detours. Some end well, some don’t. Regardless, we have to own the fact that we chose the detour.
- The truth about most detours is this: they don’t ruin our lives. We may immediately start worrying about arriving in time or disappointing the in-laws or missing the meeting, but the end of most stories is we eventually get there and all is well.
So what’s a dude to do when approaching a detour or waking up to the reality he’s in one that he didn’t see coming?
- Consider your options
- Thank God you’re still on a road and not under it
- Take a breathe
- Look at the scenery that you wouldn’t otherwise have seen
- Adjust your speed, your expectations, your plans
- Realize that 15-30 minutes is about the same time it takes to get your hair cut. It won’t last forever.
- If the Spirit leads you to take a detour, listen and obey
- Ask God “what” questions rather than “why” questions
- Look for the purpose in the detour. You might find that it’s taking you to a better road.
- Turn up the music. Lower the windows. Enjoy the ride.