This word has penetrated our lives this summer with great frequency. Most of us think of road construction when seeing this word. The word DETOURS took on new meaning when I was
blessed to travel in northern Germany and Scandinavia this summer. Every evening I would read the details of the places we were planning to visit the next day. As I read its history and about its current day experience I learned of DETOURS many Scandinavians and Germans had to take to escape various political or nature driven devastations. Some of these historic detours eventually got people back “home”, some brought them to the end of their life (i.e WW2 victims) and some ended their DETOUR in a new home land, like my great grandparents coming to Minnesota. In each event, circumstances changes out of their control and life forced them into DETOURS much like the current refuge population.
On this trip we stayed with a retired teacher/farmer just outside a little ord village. He had converted one of his sheep sheds into rooms for guests. Our host’s name was Neils. He graciously drove us to a mountain view point, picked us up from our ferry, etc. So we had time to talk with him about lots of things. He was very chatty and mentioned that their little village had taken several refugees recently. He said they were doing very well, but that Norwegians have struggled with if they can take any refugees in? If yes, how many and how many times? Somehow it was good to hear that other countries are struggling with some of the same issues we are and making important choices. In each of the cities we visited I read that their populations were over 1/3 people from other countries who had settled there. On the train one evening in Oslo, Norway, we sat near 5 boys who were likely around 14 years old. They clearly were close friends and there was a lot of typical middle school boy horse play. Only one of them appeared to be a native Norwegian. Again I was aware of the rich cultural mix we experience in the USA is also in many other countries.
DETOURS are also what many people I work with are experiencing. Maybe the DETOUR of a difficult diagnosis, or time for a transition, or of caregiving or mental illness, etc. All of these and so many other life events create DETOURS. As a parent I feel like I am always swerving my/our way through DETOURS with my kids. Trying to slow down for the caution signs, work with the “construction” workers who are trying to help things ultimately be better for us, be patient and prayerful for results that will limit the time we are on the DETOUR, etc. The first thing I try to tell my kids these days when they encounter DETOURS is to pray and ask others to pray for them. Second, I and others on the DETOUR with us are looking for ways to care or help. In a world that over values perfection, these DETOURS can be hard to deal with.
This year we will be offering a couple things in attempt to help us with our DETOURS. First, in September we will be offering kids of all ages Prayer Partners. These will be adults from the congregation who can pray for them- and in turn they can pray for that adult. This is a ministry that blesses all involved, some with a history of coping with DETOURS and some just starting to experience them. Second later in the year we will be teaching and talking about what to do in addition to prayer when life puts the DETOUR sign up. Using the book, “There is No Card for That” by Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell, as a guide. Stay tuned for these offerings and many more this year at SOTH!!
I would love to hear your stories about life DETOURS so stop me at SOTH and let me know!
Blessings for the last licks of summer, Kaye Wothe, Parish Nurse