Everyone who drives a motor vehicle knows the beautiful feeling of inertia when cruising a smooth, well-designed highway. The conditions seem perfect–light traffic, lovely weather conditions, the engine purring as it powers the vehicle across the tarmac.
Then a glitch appears in one’s field of vision, the “detour” road sign. One’s mood sinks as the road narrows, the speed limit drops, and the experience changes from carefree to wary. It’s not that the journey has ended; it’s merely been redirected. The makeshift detour was devised because road crews must construct another stretch of smooth, well-designed roadway. We understand all of this, but we still harbor resentment about the inconvenience.
Humans, like most creatures, prefer the ease and comfort of a predictable life. The conservative inertia of having things the way they always seem to be, draws us into it. The problem with our attachment to inertia is that real life is beset with challenges and problems. We know that life rarely turns out the way we envision how it should unfold. We have all had small and major disappointments. Everyone eventually will encounter major life-changing events.
Why do I reiterate the obvious? Well, it is mainly to remind ourselves that life has limitations. Certainly, we want to live good, happy, productive lives. However, the roads we take sometimes feel like primitive paths on dangerous ground. It is highly unusual for humans to be able to always drive on smooth, well-designed freeways. The truth of the matter is, that we will occasionally have to pay to travel on a turnpike or drive across a toll bridge that is less than optimal. There will be inconvenient detours along the way.
Civilization has collided into a set of major problems this year. The year is not at all the way we envisioned it would be at its beginning in January. Civilization, as we know it, has taken a direct hit. The obstacles are enormous. We are being redirected en masse and individually into taking detours. The flow of most daily commerce has been slowed and halted. Our habitual interactions with one another have been decreased as well.
As we make our way down the detours we’re on, there will be people maintaining vital services. Other people will be working on ways we can adapt to the frontier of the unknown ahead. There will also be the highwaymen and bandits who will exploit the detour to benefit only themselves.
While we travel upon this uncertain detour together, we must be especially mindful of the pitfalls and hazards along the way. While we experience normal, sympathetic inner mental and emotional shifts, we open ourselves to new possibilities. Our radical redirection from the ways we have always experienced life will leave us vulnerable and unsettled. The world as we know it is being changed. Will it be for the overall good or bad? It is irresponsible to paint a rosy picture at this juncture in time just as it is unhelpful to be pessimistic.
One thing to keep in mind is that our current troubles can be seen as redirections that can make us stronger. As we travel down this detour we can either submit to the fear of uncertainty or we can redirect that fear into efforts to make our world a better place. During these times of adversity, may our intentions and actions be redirected into living more effectively for the benefit of everyone involved.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes the writer, H. Jackson Brown, Junior. “See any detour as an opportunity to experience new things.”