Written by Stephanie Bowman, Associate Chaplain, Felician Village Mission Department
We are in the season of Epiphany, the time of the church year that begins with the story of the wise men following the light of a star to find Jesus. I imagine that following a star instead of a map would be very challenging. The wise men would not have been able to look at an overview of their journey ahead of time. No doubt they ran into some roadblocks and detours along the way. I think many of us appreciate the sense of control that comes with following a map and knowing where we’re headed before we set out on a trip. This is true of life too. Many of us have a map for our lives, a plan we follow that gives us a sense of direction and purpose.
Unfortunately, life doesn’t often follow our plans and we end up on detours that we hadn’t anticipated. Things like illness, the death of someone we love, or losing a job are things that change our direction and require us to let go of our maps and plans. When these challenges redirect us from the path we had planned for ourselves, we are called to trust that even when we have lost our map, God is still traveling with us on the detour. Perhaps we won’t be able to see the entire journey laid out before us, but we can trust that just as the wise men followed the light of the star one step at a time there will be enough light for us to step out in faith, trusting that there will be enough light for each day. And, if we pay attention we might discover beautiful and unexpected things on these detours.
Loreena McKennit says, “In the end, I wonder if one of the most important steps on our journey is the one in which we throw away the map. In jettisoning the grids and brambles of our own preconceptions, perhaps we are better able to find the real secrets of each place.” May God grant us the wisdom and vision to see the beauty and grace that surrounds us on these unexpected detours.