Unexpected Detours

Most people I know type in an address and their car’s navigational system gets them to their destination. I have heard that the GPS even talks. But for some strange reason, mine doesn’t. No matter what we do, no matter what buttons we click, my Google maps does not voice activate. EVER. I have had multiple techie people look at it, and in the store the voice will activate. But as soon as my car starts moving it quits. So I have learned to navigate the old fashioned way, by printing a map before I go anywhere. Or I can bring the map up on my phone, but I need to look at it frequently for directions. Neither solution works well for me since it is hard to drive and look at directions at the same time.

I was in the Branson area and needed to go to Walmart to pick up a few additional items. I was told, “Oh it is easy. Just turn left at the stop sign and turn right at the first light.” Somehow I missed my turn and unexpectedly found myself driving out of town on a small, two-lane highway. At first as I drove the hilly, windy road on my unexpected detour, I was tense, my shoulders were tight, and my jaw was clenched. As a person who sits short and cannot see over the hood of the car, getting to the top of a steep hill and then starting down can be scary because there is a moment when you can only pray that the road will be underneath you as you cross the hill. I eventually was able to see the beauty of the Ozark Mountains on each side of me. As I became more relaxed, I decided that I was going to enjoy this detour and kept driving, not knowing for sure where I would end up. I drove for the next thirty minutes and spent that time marveling at the beauty of God’s creation.

As I drove I thought there are not too many things as beautiful as an Ozark Mountain springtime (except maybe an Ozark Mountain Fall). The soft green of the trees is lovely to see, and the blooms of the redbuds and the flowering dogwoods compete for the best in show. The smell of the rich, verdant earth and the sound of creek water flowing merrily over rocks is a part of the magic of the Ozarks. It all shows the beauty of God’s handiwork.

As I reached a town I knew wasn’t near my final destination, I reluctantly realized it was time to regroup and head back to where I started. My little detour took me to somewhere new and unexpected. I saw a little town that was just a sign on the highway before. I turned my vehicle around and headed back to my original destination with a renewed appreciation for a part of the Ozarks I had not seen before.

In life we tend to think about a detour as negative. Frequently detours take us to roads we do not want to travel and in directions we never anticipated. Detours can be difficult but sometimes they can be a noteworthy reminder of the handiwork of God. So we have to decide how we are going to handle the detours of life. Are we going to be tense and view every detour negatively or are we going to lean into them and look for all of the beauty and wonder around us while we are on the journey? Deciding how we view detours can make all the difference in the beauty we see in the unexpected.

“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9) ESV

©Linda DeLay Wallace 2021