Today I walked into my noon Bible study and there was animated buzzing conversation all around. I eagerly jumped in, until I realized we had forgotten something. "Wait! Let's pray!" I interrupted. We stopped long enough to say grace, and then went back to our lunches and our conversation.
What was the passionate topic we were discussing? Detours.
They say, of course, that there are only two seasons in Minnesota: winter and road construction. This reality has become more evident than usual for us this spring, as major highway construction is going on in our neighborhood's back yard.
All of the freeway entrances near our home have been closed for the last month, and will be all summer. Last weekend, the major highway through our city was closed, from my neighborhood downtown.
And starting this weekend, two more bridges were demolished, and part of the street that runs in front of our church was closed, the part that goes over the freeway. Our children's ministry coordinator described the scene on Monday evening: cars coming down the street, seeing the roadblock, and turning around abruptly to go back in the opposite direction -- during rush hour.
Tuesday evening I took my usual back roads home. They are not closed. However, as I approached my intersection, I saw two blocks of cars, waiting to get on the same road.
Everybody's looking for a different way home right now. The shortest route is no longer an option.
We need these road repairs. They are long overdue. But it is bitter medicine to take. And it means that we will have to take detours for awhile, we will have to slow down, we will be inconvenienced. For people in a hurry, with never enough time, with a sense of urgency, this is a difficult lesson to learn. Maybe we won't learn it, anyway.
We need more than road repairs. We need humanity repairs. Sometimes a detour, which seems like a waste of time, is part of the process of repairing our lives. And God -- the God who walked this earth with us -- walks with us in the detours, maybe even more than in those straight line, goal-oriented trips we take.