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Taking the wrong turn onto the right path

Right or left?

This was a game Kristen and I used to play on Saturday’s before we had kids. In the late 1990’s we lived in Chicago, we had a new car, gas was 97 cents, and we shared a love for summer adventure.

I’d drive to the corner of Chicago and Damon and say to Kristen, “Right or left?” We’d have our debit cards and no plan. Each time we came to a red light we’d pick a direction and keep going. When we saw something interesting we’d stop. When we were hungry we’d find a little mom-n-pop. Some days we’d explore the city and other days we’d end up in Illinois corn fields or somewhere deep in Wisconsin. At the end of the day we’d head back to a highway and drive home.

One day we found ourselves headed north on Lakeshore drive and we decided to just keep going.This took us on a slow march via side streets and county highways all the way to Milwaukee. Another time we explored all of the fancy houses in Chicago’s northern suburbs. Another time we wandered aimlessly up and down Chicago’s south side.

The joy in this game was that lots and lots of intentional wrong turns lead to a glorious experience. Sometimes it just didn’t feel right so we’d do a u-turn and go from the wrong way to the right way. And other times we’d take a wrong turn and just go for it.

Have you ever taken a wrong turn and ended up with a more beautiful experience? 

I can think to specific instances where life dealt me a curve ball, something that felt like a wrong turn, and it turned out more beautiful than if I’d stayed on the “right path.”

Now, I’m not talking about sin. While I think God can redeem us when we sin and things can still turn out great I don’t think God expects us to sin our way to a beautiful life.

What I mean is the more mundane sin-free wrong turns we take in life. I’ve talked to a bunch of folks lately for whom life has bypassed dealing them a lemon for a big turd. (TIP: Don’t try to turn a turd into lemonade. Just get rid of it ASAP.)

Life has dealt me my fair share of  turds. While sometimes we live a storybook life I’m also fully aware that plenty of things have come my way which weren’t fair– even downright evil things done to me. (I’ve done a good job of bringing bad things upon myself with my stupid choices, as well.)

When I think about the beauty of the space I’m in right now I can see that I only got here by playing a lifelong game of Right or Left?

I think we waste a lot of effort in making 10-20-30 year projections of where our life is supposed to go. What if we just agreed that at the end of the day we’ll head home but day-to-day life will just be a series of simple choices, right or left?

Photo Credit: Choices by AnemoneProjectors via Flickr (Creative Commons)

One Response to Taking the wrong turn onto the right path

  1. KJ June 13, 2012 at 5:50 pm #

    This is a great perspective, Adam. 
    Along similar lines, I tend to think that there are often no “right” or “wrong” turns. When facing a decision..especially the bigger ones in life…the tendency is to think if we don’t get it “right” we somehow find ourselves out of God’s will/plan/design for our life. I tend to hold to the (somewhat problematic, I’m sure) theology that when I seek God, seek wise counsel and check my motives…..any decision I make ends up quickly becoming the “right” decision.

    Good stuff!

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