There are a number of traffic diversions in place locally at the moment, the main one being due to planned major works in the centre of town. Two other unanticipated events (a burst water main and a sudden sinkhole) have temporarily closed local roads. This is inevitably causing havoc and adding significantly to overall journey times. Although I know our area quite well, I have been surprised to find that the diversion routes quickly take me into unfamiliar territory.
There is a need to trust in each diversion route and know that it will eventually get me to my destination.
This is an example of faith in action that I am happy to embrace. It reminds me that at times, you have to be able to trust in that which you cannot see to achieve whatever you have set out to do.
During the week I thought I would try to figure out my own route to work avoiding the worst of the traffic. But by turning left instead of right at an unfamiliar junction, I soon found myself going in the wrong direction. I felt rather silly; how could I get lost on my way to work?! – but I trusted my internal Satnav’s sense of direction, found the right road and was back on track again.
Once again, I was guided by something I could not see but I knew was there.
Tying in with this, I recently heard an inspirational talk on ‘looking around, looking up and looking forward’. The premise of this was to show how, even when we think we are entirely alone, if we seek and ask for help, we will be aided in times of hardship, and also rewarded in ways that we cannot anticipate.
As an example of looking forward, if you are running a marathon, your aim is to reach the finishing line. As you approach the final straight you will see and hear all the spectators urging you on, willing you to do your very best to get to the end, within the time parameters that you are likely to have set yourself. How encouraging they are!
But try to look beyond the finishing line. Think about how much has been contributed to your taking part in that race in the first place. You will have been driven by your own ambition and commitment to training, but generally speaking, no-one enters a marathon purely for themselves. You will have been inspired by something or someone – to run with perseverance, to look forward and be uplifted and supported from beyond the finishing line.
Allowing yourself to have both vision and trust means that you can tap into what is ‘out there’ if you look for it.
Returning to the diversion theme, I had a horrible situation a few days ago when I was driving home in Shaun’s car, which is larger than my own. Traffic was diverted away from a roundabout I would usually cross, sending me along a relatively narrow road. As I approached a bend, I encountered a large articulated lorry coming the other way. We both slowed down our vehicles, but as the driver tried to bring the lorry past me, we realised that the narrowest point and angle of the bend would not allow his long vehicle to pass. I tried to pull up onto the verge on the left, but this was made difficult by the presence of bollards and there was not enough space to manoeuvre.
The lorry inched forward and the angle meant it was getting closer and closer to my car until it was almost touching my wing mirror.
I felt entirely trapped, unable to go forward or backwards.
We had reached an impasse.
I felt as though I was in the eye of a storm as other cars backed up in both directions, waiting for someone to move. The lead car from the other direction was behind the lorry and unable to see the situation that existed on the bend.
I looked upwards to the heavens for inspiration.
I looked all around me for a way round the problem, but found nothing.
I tried to visualise looking forward beyond the finish line.
Strangely, I felt calm enough; I was not panicking but could not imagine how the situation could be resolved. I opened the car window and called out,
“Can someone please help me? I just don’t know what to do”.
Nothing happened. I could hear vehicle horns as people became impatient, but I could not do anything. I sat and waited for something … anything. … to happen.
A few moments later a cyclist came into view from the opposite direction. He quickly summed up what had happened and called out to me,
“Don’t worry, I will guide you forward”. I was so relieved!
I kept my eyes firmly on the cyclist, watching and trusting his judgement as he assessed the width of the space available on either side of the car, and he waved me forward. Eventually, (although it felt like ages, it was probably only a minute or so), my car was clear of the lorry. I thanked my Good Samaritan, a charming gentleman, whom had appeared just at the right time. He agreed with me that the lorry driver should have stopped before the bend to let my car pass. This would have entirely avoided the incident.
I drove off, shaken by the unpleasantly close shave but so grateful for the manifestation of this particular guardian angel, just at the right time in the right place, and in answer to my prayer for help.
Perhaps diversions that result in proof of the power of looking around, upwards and forwards, are not so bad, after all.