Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Wisdom in the Road Construction of Life..

Living in the Midwest portion of the United States, we experience four unique seasons. They are commonly referred to as Winter, Winter, Winter and Road Construction. You know you are in the middle of Road Construction season when the interstate traffic is moving quickly and freely and then, without warning, you need to apply the brakes forcefully and come to a screeching halt.

Recently, as I drove across the city, twice I encountered big orange signs reading “Road Work Ahead” and “Detour” - I was already 15 minutes behind schedule – my heart sank. As I began to slow, I realized that the detour was not for the interstate I was driving. Instead, I shared in the pains of heavy traffic because I was driving on the road that was the rerouted destination for the detour folks. Then to add to the mess, just two miles ahead, road work was happening and three lanes of traffic were forced to merge down to two. All this activity forced road users to a snail’s pace. The road construction severely hindered my progress and there was nothing I could do about it.

I would imagine you also have found yourself, crawling along some stretch of highway moving ever so slowly because road work was near. Possibly you have felt the discouragement as you watched the minutes tick by on the clock and realized the situation was out of your control.

This experience illustrates an important life principle we can learn from. When road construction is encountered in your life, the best route is to:

Expect it, Accept it and Move through it to find the open highway.

The reality is that all of us have or will experience some type of road construction in our life. It could be some basic “Road Work Ahead” like when things get really busy at work and we need to put in some extra hours. Usually this “Road Work” is a temporary inconvenience. Other times the fast lane may be closed for a bit requiring us to “Merge”. Watch out for the “Merge” in life as it has a tendency to create indecisiveness – should I do this or should I do that. On occasion we encounter bigger surprises when we are required to take a “Detour” and reroute our course. When unforeseen “Detours” happen in life - they take us along unfamiliar territory. A new road can seem to go on forever and our faith is tested. We may experience thoughts of doubt because we can’t see how or when we will get back on the main road.

The challenge comes when we find ourselves in the construction season being forced deal with it. This is where the “Expect It – Accept It – Move Through It” principle comes in.

  • Expect It – The reality is that our roads will deteriorate and need to have maintenance done on them. Just like you and I will find challenges along the way in our life. We just don’t know what the challenge will be or where the detour will take us.
  • Accept It – Maintaining the right frame of mind during the road work of life has the potential to alleviate stress and make a tough situation seem easier. Maya Lin said, “To fly, we have to have resistance.”
  • Move Through It – Remember Dory from the movie “Finding Nemo”? Does this sound familiar…”Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.” Our kids got the message, how about you? Once we move through the congestion, unfamiliar detour route, and bumpy roads we are sure to find open highway.
So until the next big orange construction sign pops up in your life, remember:

Expect it, Accept it and then Move Through it to find the open highway on the other side.

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