Road Closed. Local Traffic Only. That sign greeted our guests last Friday as they tried to make their way to St. Anthony’s for their weekend retreat. Although our guests could have assumed St. Anthony’s fit within the definition of “local”, since the sign was less than a half mile from their destination, the road was closed in precisely the worst place possible – right where County NN and 4th Street diverge, blocking the turn into St. Anthony’s.

Of course, since County NN is a county highway and a truck route, there was a marked detour. Sadly, the detour was designed for truck traffic and not for out of town guests trying to make their way to St. Anthony’s. Locals knew where to turn to take advantage of appropriate shortcuts. But others trying to find their destination in the dark were led on a miles-long tour of Marathon County and Rib Mountain before finally finding their way to our driveway long after their intended arrival time.

The experience of our guests on Friday night is one most of us can relate to. At some time or another, we encountered an unexpected detour along our way, sometimes in our travels and sometimes in our life’s journey.

COVID has been an 18 month detour in our journey, with many unexpected turns along the way. How many of us knew 18 months ago what adventures and experiences this pandemic detour would bring us? Like our weekend guests, we really had no choice but to find our way through as best we could and accept the circumstances we could not control. Plans changed, events were delayed, but eventually we found the way to get to where we wanted to be.

When life’s detours can be accepted in the right spirit, the change of plans can be an adventure. We can see things and learn things and experience things we would not otherwise have seen, learned or experienced if it were not for the detour.

For all of life’s detours and for all the unexpected things we see, learn and experience along the way, we say Deo Gratias!