A Delightful Detour by Karen
|Chris and I both read this book in |
college and loved it. Little did we
know that we'd actually take
the "road less traveled".
After rounding a few more curves the asphalt ended. The good news is that the preliminary work of clearing the jungle away in anticipation of the construction had been completed so we could see where we were supposed to go. The bad news is that it was nothing but super slippery mud.... which wouldn't have been a big deal except that there were often steep drop-offs on either side of the pathway.
We continued along for quite some time wondering what we'd find around each bend. Interestingly enough, there were seemingly random stretches of completed asphalt highway, followed by stretches that were albeit impossible to follow.
Just as we were discussing whether or not it was time to turn around, a man came up behind us on a motorcycle who had been following the same little blue line as us. When he saw the intimidating slope he laughed, asked us for prayers, and then assured us that he'd wait at the bottom to make sure we made it safely. Chris watched his every move as to figure out the best way to navigate this challenge. About halfway down it occurred to me to take a video, which I assumed would tell it all. However, in watching the video I realize that the steepness of the slope was lost. I think it's because I took it from inside the vehicle and I was pointing it at the ground, which gives the illusion that it was all pretty flat... which was definitely NOT the case!! Anyhow, I decided to include it just to give you a sense of where we were.
In the background, you can see a tall support column for the highway that was supposed to span this valley. To the right of the column, you can see the slope of the terrain. That's the same angle of the path we traveled down to get to the riverbank.
Following are some pictures of parts and pieces of the bridge that were constructed several years ago. The project was never finished, and it seems that it never will be.
As we continued on through the jungle following what could have been a real shortcut between the capital city of San José and the largest town in our province of Alajuela, it occurred to us that such a highway would have had grave effects on all the businesses positioned along the current route. Just like in the Old West, clusters of small businesses popped up and eventually turned into towns with large commercial enterprises. Those towns would definitely suffer without the income generated from the constant stream of traffic that currently passes through. A bit further down the road, we offered a ride to two locals (so they didn't have to walk in the rain) who confirmed our suspicions by explaining the correlation between the bridge project and the changing of power brought about by political elections these last six years or so. I recently read that the top 20% of wealthy Costa Ricans make an average monthly wage of $4,650 while those living in poor rural areas earn only $360/month. It seems that those who would have benefited from this new highway lack the political clout needed to persuade the decision-makers to finish what was started.
Chris and I arrived home several hours later than expected eager to tell our kids all about our day: not only did we accomplish what we set out to accomplish, we had an exciting adventure, got to see the beautiful countryside, and learned a bit about how the poor have been impacted by their leaders' decisions.
As we talked with our kids I realized that there wasn't even one moment that I felt frustrated following the little blue line through the jungle. I trust the Lord more than ever and feel confident that life's detours not only allow us to experience things that we might not have otherwise experienced but also protect us from paths and places that were not meant for us at a particular moment in time.
People have asked me what I mean when I say that I can feel Jesus' presence. Well, given the fact that He doesn't typically appear in physical form, I find myself relying on the known truths: Jesus is unity, peacefulness, and joy; He is patience, compassion, and understanding. He is strength and certainty. So, when all of these things are present I know that Jesus is right there with me just waiting for me to acknowledge His presence and invite Him into the situation.
The next time you find yourself on a little detour, I encourage you to pray for the grace you need to trust the Lord completely and enjoy the unexpected opportunity you've been given to experience something that you otherwise would not have experienced. Thank you for reading and God bless. Love, Karen