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What “The Office” Taught Me About Life’s Detours

I work in an industrial part of the city. Some nights on my way home the road I take is closed because of construction. Detour signs are set up and direct me to take an alternate route than what I normally am used to do. I turn left where the road is closed take one street down, turn right at the stop sign, then right again, and I’m back on track.

Detours are no fun. Whether it’s on the road or in life. We’ll be headed one way and next thing we know we’re sent on a completely different route than we first planned out.

A great example of this is from the mockumentary, “THE OFFICE”. For those who might not have seen it, it follows the everyday lives of the employees of a paper company. In it we see the people learn, grow, and over come life’s greatest challenges. We see them find and lose love. Take leaps of faith seeing if they will fall or fly. My favorite person to look at is Dwight K. Schrute. A beet farming man forever chasing a manger position that he may never get. The butt of constant office pranks and jokes. Dwight is loyal to his friends and those he loves. In the show we watch Dwight face several hardships. Losing the love of his life to another man not once, but twice. He’s denied the promotion he so desperately seeks on multiple occasions. He even leaves his job at one point. Eventually, despite all the detours of Dwight’s life, he manages some how and gets through it.

Have we had any detours in our lives? I’m sure we can think of plenty. The interview we didn’t get, the dream job we weren’t offered. Passed up for a promotion we deserved. Relationships ending. Perhaps even losing a part of our faith in the big guy up stairs.

With each of these road blocks we still attempt to drive through them and each time we get rerouted. It’s annoying, kinda like the GPS in our car when we miss the turn it just constantly repeating itself “Rerouting.” We’re still going forward and our GPS isn’t giving us any direction.

What do we do? Do we stop and wait for new directions? Do we continue going forward until the road somehow magically appears beneath us? Perhaps we stop and ask for directions?

We are all aware of the questions, but making the right choice is difficult. We also question ourselves of which is the right choice. We’re also wondering where can we turn to for help in answering theses questions.

When we encounter a detour in life we feel very uneasy about it and quickly get lost. Perhaps we even panic a bit, and thats okay. I know myself when a detour happens I do not like it at all. I quickly go into panic mode and try to do everything in my power to make what my original plans happen. I often fail at this and end up hearing the cliché phrases: “It all happens for a reason” or “God has a different plan for you.” All of which are very annoying and frankly not what I want to hear or probably need to hear. Think about yourself do you feel the same way?

In talking with a new friend about this piece I asked her what advice she would give. She found it funny because on the day that I asked that question she started a new job. When she walked in to her office there was a message scribbled on the white board that read:

“We must be willing to let go of the life we planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”

Our future isn’t set in stone. One thing I’ve learned from watching too much T.V. and movies that is the complete truth. Even in Dwight’s case, he thought he’d never get the manager position and (SPOILER ALERT) after hard work and dedication and accepting the flow of life he eventually gets his dream.

Life it-self is a journey and we are meant to experience it. We should remain open to all that happens and comes our way. Embrace the good and the bad. We never know what we might hate or love until we experience it. Instead of fighting the waves we should ride them, imagine how much time and energy we could save.

I’ll be the first to admit that I am the worst at going with the flow of life and the “lovely” detours. I will fight like a wildebeest trying to get away from a lion. I will deny that I have to just let things be and understand that I can’t always control what happens in life. I can only control how I react to what happens. Its a tough lesson that we all have to learn and in our own time a skill we develop.

All we can do is turn to God and ask for his help in letting go of the life we planned, so we can have the life that awaits us.

Positive vibes & Gob Bless.

Niall Covington

Born with a genetic disorder, Niall knows what it is like to be knocked down. He has been there several times and he has been able to get back up because of faith and a small number of friends. Seeing others getting knocked down, Niall offers a hand whether he has just fallen or is on the way back up himself. Volunteering as a summer camp counselor for children, teens, and young adults with the same disorder, Niall hopes to inspire them to overcome life's road blocks. For Niall, writing for Project Wednesday is an opportunity to reach more people, and to help more.

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