detours encouragement Nov 16, 2022

By Carol Woolum Roberts

Today I ran some errands and did some shopping for some upcoming get-togethers our family is planning.

I kept having to make detours.

Of my own making.

I kept turning the wrong direction, or missing the turnoff, or going the wrong way.

My multiple mishaps made me think of the detours we have in our lives.

Sometimes the detours are a nuisance.  When my friend Jennifer was driving from Moscow to Kellogg this last fall, she had to take a detour outside of St. Maries because of road construction.  Her nice white rental car ended up being covered with black dirt from the detour. 

Sometimes detours offer an adventure.  I remember when we lived in Montana, and one summer Paul and I took some of our youth group kids to an outdoor Christian Rock Concert in Wilmar, Minnesota.  On this trip, we had to take a detour through some rural part of Minnesota. As part of the trip, we also visited Minneapolis, and I believe the detour occurred somewhere between Wilmar and Minneapolis.  The town was called Cosmos.

If we hadn’t taken this detour, I am not sure I would have ever experienced seeing the unique fish bait vending machine in front of a convenience store where we stopped.  You could purchase worms, maggots, and leeches if you dropped some coins in the slot.  That was something I had never seen before. 

What kind of detours have I had recently? Were they a nuisance?  Did they initiate an adventure, or did the detour do something else?

Today I ran into one of my neighbors at one of my shopping stops and she detoured my thinking with one short phrase.

“You are looking really good today”.

Wow.  Little did she know how I had not been thinking that way about myself at all.  For the past few months, all I have thought about is how awful I look, and I had convinced myself that everyone thought the same way.

But then I hit a detour in the middle of Grocery Outlet.  It was good.

I think we can all be detours for others.  By how we treat them. By what we say to them.

The question is, are you a detour that takes someone on a pleasant adventure or are you the detour that is a nuisance and dirties their vehicle and messes it all up.

I know I can be both.  Sometimes I am not aware that I am detouring someone’s thinking.  I want to always be positive and encouraging, but, unfortunately, I can often detour other’s thoughts down a long and winding road where they drive through a dark tunnel. 

My aim is to be like my neighbor.  Share a smile.  Share a spontaneous, authentic encouragement. 

That detour could change the course of a person’s life from then on.


Have you ever been on the receiving end of a detour that changed the course of your thinking for the rest of the day…either for the good or for the bad?

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