Detours

There is a note pasted on the wall behind my computer. It reads: Leave room in your life for detours. It has taken me many years to fully accept this statement, and still at times I have to fight the urge to stick to my schedule and put blinders on to all else around me.


My third novel, The Color of My Heart has been staring at me for several weeks now. My editor, Jo Martin returned it to me almost two months ago all scratched up with red editor markings. All I have to do is find the time to correct all the little red impressions and send it back to Jo for round two of her editing. However, a few obstacles have been tossed into the mix and I’ve had to take a detour from my happy life of fine-tuning this next novel. Just when I think I’m right on schedule, my train becomes de-railed and I’m left sitting on the tracks for hours, maybe even days or weeks.


What could have gone wrong? My trip was all planned and on schedule. Life! We wake up every morning with our list of things to do and all of a sudden a phone call sends us in a different direction. Someone or something pulls us away from what we had planned for the day. How do you handle this? In my younger days I would become upset, and pity myself for not getting to do exactly what I wanted to do with every second of my time. Then something amazing happened. I realized the 24 hours in my day were not totally mine. Those hours were given to me as a gift. Do I choose to keep the gift to myself or do I share it with the world?


Once upon a time I didn’t understand that a detour could lead me around a tragedy, or accident. What I might have considered a hindrance might just be a sanction, a benefit. That detour may very well have saved my life or the lives of others. Have you ever happened upon an accident and wondered what could have been if you hadn’t been behind that slow poke on the highway? You very well may have been involved in the accident.


We may never know on this side of the earth why we are detoured from our own perfect plans. Why loved ones are sick? Why innocent people are sometimes the ones who pay for others mistakes, or why a novel, itching to go to press must be pushed aside because other things come before it. All these situations tell me that I am so glad I am not in control. I know if I got to do everything that I wanted to do in a days time my life would be such a mess. I would miss the blessings that life’s detours have to offer.


Every day we awake to a clean sheet of paper. We begin our day by filling in the white space with our to-do list. Most of the lines will be filled with chores, maybe we’ll pencil in a lunch break or a nice leisure walk in the sunshine. But do we leave enough space between the lines to account for the things that pop up in our daily lives?


With Easter still fresh on my mind I have to wonder what would have happened if Jesus had not said to His Father, “If thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.”  Jesus took a detour by way of the cross. All of a sudden my detours don’t seem quite as complex, does yours?

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