Tuesday, July 13, 2010

No Through Traffic

I think we've all probably heard the word "Roadblock" used as an illustration for when life doesn't go as planned.  You hit a roadblock, you have to go around, take a detour.  Some of us may see this as ordained by the One above, others may just simply see it as a cruel twist of fate.  Regardless of our belief (or lack thereof), I don't think any of us ever look forward to coming up on one.  Seeing those orange cones in the distance (literal or not) is enough to incite groans and an inward (or outward) stream of not nice thoughts.

But have you ever had a roadblock turn out to be a good thing?  A detour on your path of life that took you not to where you expected, but took you exactly where you needed to be?  Sometimes those experiences are life altering, and sometimes they're just an extra little boost of encouragement along the journey.

Today I ran into one such roadblock.   Literally.  The whole road was closed.  Orange cones and all.  Not good for my mid-morning outing with the princesses.  We were on a fairly tight time schedule.  I needed (needed) to get out to a store to get some sandals for Princess #4 before her feet permanently became malformed from stuffing them into her too small shoes.  But it was on the other side of town, and I was trying to be sure we could get out, get the shoes and get back home before the tummies started rumbling for lunch.

Driving down a familiar road in a not frequented part of town, I was surprised to see the big signs up ahead at the intersection:  NO THROUGH TRAFFIC.  Now, like any good, sane, literate person, I drove straight through the intersection, as though somehow the sign didn't apply to me.  It quickly became clear that the sign was in fact, correct and I was in fact, a dork for trying.  I then found myself looking for the closest drive to turn around in.  Much to my luck, a Starbucks appeared on my left (always there for you, that Starbucks!).

 A little bit agitated at my loss of time, I swung a quick left and pulled into the Starbucks parking lot.  And then I did something completely not like me.  Instead of pulling straight into the drive through (which I most normally would absolutely do - you know how much I love my cuppa joe), I turned to the left again, hoping to see a exit on the other side of the parking lot.  I drove forward slowly, and quickly discovered that no such exit existed.  But before I could get aggravated about having to turn around AGAIN and silently cursing myself for not just going through the drive through like a coffee addict normal person would, I spotted the reason that I like to think I ran into the roadblock at all.

Just two friends, walking out the door of Starbucks, after finishing up a meeting.  Chatting on the sidewalk as I drove by.  I slowed and got their attention and a spontaneous conversation lasting nearly 45 minutes resulted.  My literal roadblock led me to two friends.  Two friends that I needed to see and talk to (even though I didn't know it at the moment).  Two friends who right there in the Starbuck's parking lot helped walk me through a virtual roadblock in my life and gave me a boost of encouragement that I so desperately needed.

The parallels to life here are just rich.  How often do we plow through intersections in life, even though the NO THROUGH TRAFFIC sign is clearly visible?  And how often do we then become irritated at our inconvenience at having to turn around, despite the fact that we could have avoided it by acknowledging that the sign gave us fair warning.  But then, in that moment (grace? luck?), just when we are at our end, the clock is ticking and we're looking for a way to turn around, a Starbucks appears and standing right out front is exactly what we need.

My friends, grab a cuppa joe and mull this one over a bit.  I'd love to hear your thoughts on roadblocks in life.


1 comment:

  1. So true! I remember being so disappointed when my roadblock of not getting into the college I wanted appeared. Now I realize, my life would never have turned out the way it has if I hadn't gone to a different school. I'm so thankful that someone was watching out for me telling me which road to take!


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