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When the Detour Becomes Your New Road

Adjusting to the New Normal

The old road often seems like it was more relaxing and easy to drive. The new road can be bumpy and twisty, narrow with sharp curves. And I find myself longing for the ease of what I used to have.

But the new road has benefits too, perhaps not in ease but in seeing life differently. More reflectively. Really noticing reality rather than rushing forward, oblivious to my surroundings.

But regardless of what I gain, it’s a challenge to accept that the detour is now the new road.

I struggle with that reality daily as I experience new weakness and pain with post-polio. Sometimes it’s temporary, but often it’s permanent. The loss becomes the new normal. And I must adjust.

Last month, I was going into a familiar building when I realized I couldn’t climb the curb without assistance. Without other options, I reluctantly asked a passerby for help. She was warm and gracious as she helped me and we had an encouraging conversation walking in together.

Since then I have been unable to get up sidewalks without assistance. This limitation will change where I can go by myself and will require me to plan ahead.

To be honest, I don’t want to plan ahead. I don’t like limitations. And yet, like my sweet conversation with a stranger, I’m sure the Lord has unexpected blessings along this path.

I realize that I cannot cling to the past. I cannot get back on the old road and put everything back the way it was. Some things will get better over time. Some prayers will be miraculously answered. Some dreams will come true.

But the old road is gone.

And in my mind, it will often be remembered as better than it actually was. The Israelites did that when they complained after they were delivered from slavery saying, “We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions and garlic. But now our strength is dried up and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at” (Numbers 11:4–6).

Not Looking Back

The Israelites neglected to mention that even though they had food, they were slaves. Their lives in Egypt were not perfect. They had continually cried out to God to deliver them from slavery.

So don’t look back on the past and assume it was perfect. It wasn’t. Mine wasn’t perfect either.

This new road that I am on, bumpy and twisty as it may be, is the path that God has chosen for me. It is the best road. The only one worth taking.

If I keep looking back on the old way longingly, focusing on what I’ve lost rather than on what I have, I will miss the rewards of the new path.

I need to open my eyes. Notice what’s around me. Remember that God goes before me. I need not fear for he knows what is up ahead.

As he has promised, “I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them” (Isaiah 42:16).

God is guiding me on this new path.

I am on the right road.

And so are you.