By Nora Silva
Like most New Years, the beginning of this year gave us new resolutions, new goals, and new plans. The year even had a nice ring to it, 2020, like 2020 Vision! We all have fresh starts and exciting objectives for the year. Things look great, nothing but bright skies ahead! Well the skies are still bright, but the pandemic has taken us all on a big detour away from our plans.
While listening to a leadership podcast, I heard author and speaker John Maxwell say, “Go slow on the detour”. That has stayed with me. I remembered a time I drove up to a detour sign in a city I did not know, with at GPS that was not giving me options. I cautiously followed the orange and black signs, not sure of where they were leading me or where I would end up. I followed the car in front of me more than the confusing signs, hoping that person would get me back on the original route. I dared not look away for fear of losing sight of that car. It felt like I was getting further and further from where I needed to go. I was frustrated that the black and orange signs weren’t informative; nor were they reassuring me—letting me know I was on the right track. I wanted my GPS to let me know that we were close to reaching our destination but only the “no signal” indicator appeared. The anxiety caused me to grip the steering wheel tighter and lower the radio volume. (I often wonder why we lower the volume when we are lost.)
Just when I thought I could not handle another minute of feeling lost, I came to a stop that put me on a road with which I was somewhat familiar. I saw the car I had followed turn into traffic and speed up, reassuring me we were back on the intended road again. I was so nervous about taking a route that was unknown and unplanned that I did not remember exactly how I got to where I was. My car detour experience does not exactly compare to our current global shift-change but not many, if any, of our experiences do. Yet, Jesus’ parables continue to teach us that through our most mundane detours in our daily lives, He gives us the opportunity to see new things in new ways, if we savor them.
This pandemic has certainly been a detour to all the plans we had for 2020 and even beyond. No matter our plans, a detour forces us to follow a different course. We can go through that detour hurriedly and completely focused on getting back to the familiar route, or we can choose to go slow on the detour and experience a new view and maybe even learn a new route to our destination.
Slowing down does not mean we will not reach our destination, it just means we may have the time to experience the in-between. It gives us an opportunity to appreciate what has always been there but has been a blur in the midst of our hurried status. Slowing down may allow us to actually see our fellow brothers and sisters who may be struggling. Some are struggling with emotions, struggling with finding purpose, struggling to obtain basic necessities, just plain struggling. We all have tough times. It is practically guaranteed. But, as followers of Christ we have the peace and hope that comes from God. It is a hope that grows stronger by the power of the Holy Spirit. That hope is to be shared, and not just with lost people, because “found” people get diverted sometimes, too.
Christian Latina Leadership Institute (CLLI) has been part of our preparation for those detours that confront us. The education, the sisterhood, the leadership development helps prepare us for deviations in life. We can look back one day and remember how God used us during this season of diversion, and in so doing we won’t be able to contain our praise.
We have a choice: we can hold tight to the steering wheel and only focus on getting back to our familiar path, or we can relax, focus on our faith in God and let the detour show us new insights and perspectives. I pray for the latter.
Nora Silva is the Executive Pastor of Mosaic Church of San Antonio and a faculty member for Christian Latina Leadership Institute. She also serves as the Chair for the Hispanic Women’s Network of Texas.