Please, not another detour! In the middle of something we regard as important, we are sidetracked by another issue. The interruption takes over and we abandon the original thing we were doing. We use terms like distraction, diversion and disruption. Even those terms may be inadequate for our description. A more accurate representation, at times, might be found in words like irritation, annoyance or interference. For me, the word ‘frustration’ seems to really fit. What would be your word or term?
We were headed one way when something happens that propels us in a different direction, not of our choosing. We are not happy.
There are no small moments in life. The idle conversation in the check-out line might seem small on the surface. Later it becomes a path changer, accompanied by some annoyance. We are in a detour not of our making. The toughest part of this unexpected diversion, that we find bothersome, is our inability to see the future. We just wish we could see further down the road, and if we could, we might actually embrace the current experience.
Then eventually one day we look back and everything becomes clear – the conversation at the check-out line is the reason someone becomes part of our life. And that person introduces us to the doctor who performs surgery on our loved one. The essence of that example happens all the time. We hear it in conversations. Someone says, “You will never guess how we met that doctor;” or, “You cannot imagine how all of this came about;” or the very familiar phrase, “I never saw this coming.” How about this one we have all heard: “It was fate the way I met my spouse.” These are not uncommon statements. They surround us everywhere. They are common. Perhaps we have just not noticed how common they really are.
Consider some scientific discoveries. The doctors were looking for one result in their experiment when they found something entirely different but yet more important. There are modern drugs that are tested for one illness and later found effective for a different disease. You hear the medical folks say words like “unexpected, astonishing” and “miracle.” If a detour can end up in a miracle, please sign me up. I am “all in!”
The next person we meet may be the reason for the detour. It could be someone who changes our life forever. It might happen in the middle of our normal routine. It is in the daily habits of our lives that important events often occur.
A last-minute change . . . the nod of a head . . . or the single word of a bystander, may represent only the flicker of a small candle. Later that tiny glimmer may erupt into the illuminating light of a permanent, positive change. It happens all the time. The largest customer, the drug that saves lives, and the word that heals a relationship all start somewhere in a moment where two individuals stand in time.
Many races or games get won by an inch, by a single point or by the slimmest of margins. And in life, the very mundane activities of the day may provide that inch, that tiny margin that propels us to victory. When we experience the irritation of a path change, we can choose to be open to the possibility of life being changed forever – a change that matters, a change we desire.
Today, if our journey should shift, how should we respond? Is it possible that a seed of great opportunity has been planted along our path? Shall I stay awake and be open to the potential that exists? Might this be the game-changer I have been seeking for a long time? Is this the beginning of a significant moment I will always remember?
I step out feebly, humbly and without the vision I so much need and want. I sense in my heart an opportunity. I see a faint glimmer. I am afraid. The potential is so large – it scares me – and I am so small. How shall I greet this moment? How shall I greet all the detours of my life?
I open the door and walk into . . .
◊ If you are seeking a change in your life, Rob’s book, There are No Small Moments, could be that tiny spark that provides the path change that you seek. For more information