Surviving Life’s Detours
June 6, 2018
It was Valentine’s Day – a day in which thoughts turn to love and fancy. Teenagers arrived at school thinking more about the date than homework assignments. Within three hours they would be literally running for their lives. March 8, 2018 parents in another Florida school district received word that their school had averted a similar threat/attack in 2017, thanks to the diligence of a teacher’s spouse and the relationship between teachers and students that led to students informing on the two young men planning the attack.
It was a fun-filled, talent-delightful concert directed towards the teenagers in life. It ended with screams and panic as concert goers prepared to leave the venue after a pop music concert in Manchester, England. Less than two weeks later, Londoners and tourists alike strolled across the London Bridge, many only to find themselves in the hospital after being struck deliberately by an out-of-control, speeding van. The three van drivers then fled the scene of mayhem they had created only to run into a restaurant and attempt to kill even more.
Life is messy and there are those who have decided their life’s purpose is to perpetuate that messiness and chaos. Even if it is not something that will make the evening news, our lives have their detours. For this season of Pentecost, we will discuss dealing with such and, hopefully, find a way to navigate the detours of life.
“Le vrai est trop simple, il faut y arriver toujours par le compliqué.” This translates as “The truth is too simple: one must always get there by a complicated route.” It was written in a letter to Armand Barbès on 12 May 1867 by George Sand. I would dearly love to tell you this statement is false but I cannot; there is a great deal of truth within it.
This very post is a perfect example of a detour in life. Between the school shootings, over fifteen in the US during 2017, the suicide bombing at the concert in Manchester and those killed/injured in London, I really doubted writing about this topic. And yet, in some ways it seemed more important than ever. Today, though, is an important anniversary and we must continue to fight for freedom and right to honor that anniversary.
The morning of June 6, 1944 marked the largest amphibious military assault the world had ever seen. More than 160,000 American, British and Canadian troops battled their way along a 50-mile stretch of beach in Normandy, France to give the Allies a foothold in Nazi-occupied western Europe and a path to victory in World War II. A massive airborne operation preceded the Allied amphibious invasion of the Normandy beaches. In the early hours of June 6, 1944, several hours prior to troops landing on the beaches, over 13,000 elite paratroopers of the American 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions, as well as several thousand from the British 6th Airborne Division were dropped at night by over 1,200 aircraft. Almost 4,000 more paratroopers would later be brought in by gliders, known as Waco Gliders, during daylight hours. In total 23,000 paratroopers and glider troops would be used in Normandy.
Many died during the events of this day, all which began with three words from General Dwight Eisenhower: “Okay, let’s go!” Millions had perished in the years leading up to this day. Some were killed simply for being alive; others in the throes of battle. War is chaotic. During World War II, most of the inhabitants of planet earth had their lives affected in one way or another. The end result was more about surviving life than in acquiring land or wealth.
“Odd, how life makes twists and turns. I never would have guessed that I’d end up where I am now, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I wouldn’t trade this path I’m on for the whole solar system, for that matter. If I’ve learned anything these last several months, it’s that sometimes the most scenic roads in life are the detours you didn’t mean to take.” This sentence by Angela N. Blount in her “Once Upon an Ever After” is how I hope we all begin to approach the detours in our living.
Most of us, fortunately, will never have such a dramatic detour in our effort to survive life. Still, we do face our own trials and turmoil, unexpected detours that life throws at us. The truth remains that every detour brings its own amount of stress. “We all have detours in life. It is up to us to turn our detour into a pilgrimage of hope,” writes Lisa Copen. If we take a new perspective on these detours, we might just enjoy the scenery and experience. We cannot only survive life’s curves and detours but ride them to victory.