wrong turns

They say there is a ‘road of life.’ (Hey, who are they anyway? I’ve always wondered that).

Anyway, if life is a road, I guess we all get to that point where we have the opportunity to drive. Obviously, you can’t start out driving, but it doesn’t take long and then BAM, there you are … on that road.

Now, many roads are straight – like US 131, for instance. Well, its pretty straight anyway. And it’s well-marked. There are green signs everywhere to help you along your way.

pretty straight, huh? (image source: wikimedia)

I guess you could get lost traveling along such a straight road, but likely you missed your exit. You can find the nearest one and turn that darn car back around. And if you’re lucky? There’s a sweet little coffee shop on the corner. Best.day.ever.

Problem is, when you live in West Michigan, there are few straight roads. Rarely will you set out to go somewhere and find yourself taking fewer than three roads to get there. And most of those roads? Well, they are curvy. Or, they have names that end in “1/2 Ave.” It’s easy to take a wrong turn.

“But wait,” you might interject. “We now have devices with apps that can pinpoint not only our location but that of where we’re headed. And, and, and a lovely voice prompts us until we reach our destination.”

Makes sense, I guess. Your app might instruct you to enter an address and then present you with three potential options on how to reach that destination. You could simply select the most-desired route and like pressing the easy button, you’re on your way. But, but, but risk is introduced right there. What if a road just washed out last week? Your app doesn’t know that. What if you fat-fingered the address and your friendly voice is guiding you several miles out of your way and that location is so far from somewhere that you can’t get her to advise on next steps?

That’s where we were today. Well, we were somewhere, and it was sorta far from anywhere else. The good news was we weren’t entirely unsure of our whereabouts but we definitely weren’t where we intended to be.

Here’s the part where I think roads and life actually intersect. Google Maps drops a pin where it thinks you are supposed to go and you get three choices on how to get there. The part we should pay attention to is not the destination, but the journey. We followed a route today. It wasn’t entirely accurate, which caused us to make a couple wrong turns and we drove past a couple spots I hadn’t planned on seeing. I may not have been prepared but they were part of that route.

If I’m talking about life, I’ve lost track of wrong turns. I do have a map and I do have a voice guiding me, but (and I think I can speak for a good number of us here) we tend to take alternate routes and quiet the voice because we think we know the way. Well, we don’t. But, I also believe that He already knows where we’re headed so He’s given us points of interest along the way to make sure we don’t lose sight of the beauty that lies in discovery.

Now, I don’t want to paint a glorious picture of some of the pain that wrong turns (or the wrong turns of others, for that matter) can introduce. It can be absolutely impossible to see the beauty when you’ve wound up in the middle of nowhere, it’s dark and you can’t find any signal to call out. But, if you keep going, daylight will come and surely, you’ll find at least a Starbucks.

I think I’ve decided I’m going to stop calling them ‘wrong turns’ and start calling them ‘colorful detours.’ You may have to look harder, but there is some level of beauty on every route.

off the beaten path

off the beaten path

2 thoughts on “wrong turns

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