Navigation and Reflection

In The Car

Yesterday was our first physical meeting for worship for several months, and I was also due to give a reading at a meeting for worship for learning afterwards, so I was keen to get to the meeting house rather than join online. I got up earlier than I have done recently on a Sunday, got myself washed and dressed and out of the door in good time for my drive to the city centre. And I arrived late.

Yes, I’d remembered the route. No, traffic wasn’t heavy. Yes, the weather was good. No, my car didn’t break down.

The problem was that 2 minutes from my destination a junction was closed for roadworks. The system of one-way streets in the city would make an alternative route difficult to work out. Fortunately there were diversion signs, so I followed a couple of yellow signs, and then they disappeared.

I couldn’t picture another way round, so I turned on my sat nav, and started driving around to the other side of the city. I was ignoring all the “turn around when possible” instructions because I knew they were taking me back to the usual, blocked route. I figured that eventually I’d be so far off course that it would stop trying to take me back and offer me a real alternative.

Well, eventually that happened, but I soon saw that it was just taking me back to where I’d started after all. I found myself waiting at lights where I was being instructed to turn right, and onto the road that was blocked.

I was weighing up whether to find a parking place and do the final part of the journey by foot, or just return home and join remotely. Then I noticed that the sat nav was showing an option to turn left a little further on, with a similar ETA. With nothing to lose, I decided to take it, and found myself driving alongside the roadworks, with a clear road to my destination. Both the meeting for worship and the subsequent session were special and rewarding.

You can probably see the life lessons before I spell them out, and you’ll probably see some that don’t occur to me. Here are my initial takeaways. I’d love to read more in your comments.

  • When your path is blocked, there will be a way past the block, maybe an unexpected way.
  • Sometimes when you keep being told to go a certain way, there’s a reason for that.”
  • The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men. Gang aft a-gley,” as Robert Burns wrote. Plans and preparation are good, but sometimes we just need to adapt.
  • God’s timing is not ours, and His ways are mysterious, but they bring surprising opportunities, like the way my diverted drive brought me the opportunity to reflect here.

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