What do when you your seemingly well-planned out agenda gets interrupted by a road block and invitation to a detour?
Had no clue existed?
Had no clue when it ended.
Had no control that you ended up there… or at least control you knew of?
After an early morning enjoying a ‘strangely all alone” (hmmm…. ) trip up a mountain to enjoy the sunrise and a run along some of the most “postcardesque” vistas imaginable.
Time to get back to my planned “to-do’s” (which at this point including finding a place to live in Boulder)
“Roads closed Sir. It’s not going to be open until 3:30 this afternoon. Didn’t you read the sign when you came up here this morning?”
My pulse quickened. “ Whattt????? There was a sign! No, I, well. No I didn’t see that.”
So, that was why I had the whole mountaintop area of Flagstaff mountain to myself! I just thought it must not be popular this early in the morning… or really, more I didn’t think much. And I didn’t notice the sign that said “Road closed from 8:30 to 3:30.” As I arrived at 8:39, I was 9 minutes too late.
“Yeah,” the police officer said, “the only way back is through Cold Water Canyon. Head back that way towards for about 10 miles. You’ll eventually come to a dirt road that goes to the left. Follow it for a long way. Like 7 miles. Get to Route 72 and eventually take 93 back up to Boulder. It’s no short trip.”
Yes, even the way he said it seemed like something out of a movie as he non-challantly leaned against the “Road closed” sign.
“Yep. You’re looking at 45 minutes on dirt roads meant for 4-wheelers.” He smiled. “Sorry for the bad news. Good luck Sir!”
A couple things went through my mind: How will I get done all I need to do this morning?? Next: What if I get hopelessly lost or stuck on some dirt road in the middle of nowhere?
I thought of the guy who spent 48 hours with his arm stuck in a cave all alone. Didn't he cut off his arm?
As I started driving I called Mindy as my one last bar on my phone disappeared to be replaced by the little “no reception circle.” I realized I needed to tell her where I was going… just in case my rented hybrid Prius floundered on rock or in mud and I was attacked by a grizzly or something. I figured someone should know how to find my body if I didn’t make it back by September.
Her words: “Well, make good use of your time.”
As my final bar disappeared on the phone as I headed into the mountains, I thought, “How doesone make good use of time when one gets waylaid by an unexpected detour?”
I searched my mind: “What do I do doing a detour? What can I do??”
This took me a while to discover: When on a detour… what is the best thing I can do?
“Thy will be done” is such a better way to live, even on detours. And how we handle them in the way may be the most important test we can EVER pass.
God, do I believe that this detour can actually be a “good thing?”
But one of the best ways to get rid of detour anxiety is to actively release the fear. See it. Acknowledge it. Let it go.
Fear can include what we think we’re missing out on by being “stuck” on the detour. Or it can be fear that the detour leads to certain destruction… physically, financially, relationally? Is that really true or something made up in fear-tinged imagination?
Gratitude and looking around to see what’s good in the midst can actually turn a “bad” situation into an adventure of life?
Though the scenery isn’t always (OK, almost never) Rocky Mountain majesty, isn’t it true that there really are incredible thing to notice along almost any route that we can encounter?
For me the enjoy the ride part included stopping to take pics on my cell phone that helped me appreciate the journey.
Here they are….
OK, so this detour took place surrounded by the awesomeness of the Rocky Mountains on a 70 degree summer day. However, I had people to call, meetings to get to and some pretty “important things” to accomplish.
Yet, God in His wisdom needed to teach this impatient, at times anxious and overly hurried guy an important lesson:
We all get to choose to or surrender to His plan and enjoy the detour as the unexpected adventure of the story of your life. … or Not. Or ... detour may be there for a purpose.
PS. My friend Haydee, not knowing of my experience “just happened” to send me a blog on detours later in the day from Al Thomas. Here was his final encouragement.
“Remember, no one said you have to always understand this divine road block. That will come later. As for now, take a deep breath, slow down and enjoy the view.”
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