Riding the Waves
Detours in Life
Whew! June was an interesting month as the tides of life seemed to engulf me. Each day seemed to go exactly opposite to its schedule and my carefully arranged agenda became a figment of my imagination upon rising each morning. Never more have I lived the words of John Steinbeck: “the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray.”
In short, life took me down a month-long journey of detours. What I realized was that if I was alive to complain and become frustrated, I was alive to survive those detours and, hopefully, learn from them. That realization did not come easily, however. About halfway through the month, I came across this quote from Ken Poirot: “Life is a journey with almost limitless detours.” Initially I got depressed but then I realized this was my salvation.
About the same time I accepted the inevitability of detours and that I was not a complete failure because I was encountering them, a friend posted a picture of a family member – a young family member who had just spent an hour finger painting. The photo was a collage of the young artist covered in paint, the painting itself, and then a close-up of the glorious satisfaction this child felt while looking at her masterpiece.
I got the post of this young artist on a Monday. That really is not important except that I had a friend who always says goodbye after our early morning exercises with ad encouraging admonition to have a good day. Each day has its own tagline and Monday’s is always: “Have a masterpiece of a Monday!” As I looked at this picture of the young child I realized she had indeed made it a masterpiece of a Monday while creating her own masterpiece.
To be truthful, I have no idea what the drawing represented except a thirty minute period of this child’s life. I will be kind and call it an abstract painting. It was certainly a masterpiece, though, and one that brought a smile to my face. More importantly, I realized that is was a masterpiece created out of the chaos that finger painting usually brings. The child’s smock was covered in paint as was one of her cheeks. She was, quite frankly, a mess. And yet, in the messiness of it all was a beautiful creation and magnificent smile, both on her face and on the faces of those who saw it, including myself.
More importantly, her painting was a detour from the detour I was currently on. While it seemed like my schedule was in disarray and a mess, it was nothing compared to her painted mess. Hers, however, was delightful. Then I learned that the child finger painting was also a detour. She had been scheduled to go to the park with my friend but it had rained. Truly on this day, our lives were full of limitless detours.
It was then that I realized this young child knew more than I did about living. She was riding the waves of life and instead of pouting about the park, created a masterpiece of finger painted artwork that was shared and appreciated by many. It was then that I understood I needed to surf through the month instead of kicking and screaming about how life was not going according to my plan.
I did not end up with any masterpieces at the end of the month but I did learn to appreciate the detours and not stress over them. I even think I made a few new friends, learned a few new things, and came out a little smarter. I also made sure to have some paper and paints on hand next time life gets too chaotic. I think I will surf through the detours with a little finger painting or coloring of my own, riding the waves of life and its detours with a smile.