The way is

Blocked. You had a destination, a carefully devised plan, everything was in place. But. Just when you’re half way or even nearly the full way there, something unexpected happens. You face the locked door, the raised hand, the ‘road closed’ sign and see no way round.

This happened to me over the summer in a literal way. I was driving back from Donegal with the kids and all of a sudden the road ahead was closed. I don’t know Omagh very well, so panic ensued. I stopped at the local garage and the girl assured me I could ignore the signs and just drive through. A man coming in the opposite direction shook his head and said there was no way I could keep going. But I did drive on until the next traffic cones and stopped again. This time, a surprisingly helpful, rough-looking man put out his smoke and lifted the cones to make a path for me. We got home ok in the end, by the usual route. Today my drive has been blocked for Virgin to dig up the road, and again I found myself smiling at another grubby man to get into my house.

There have been unwelcome barriers in my life over the years and often the way round, out, or over is hidden. It has taken a long time for me to accept the ‘road closed’ signs, and even longer for me to find the diversion. Acceptance is a fitful thing – sometimes I catch it for a while, other times it eludes me. But I know that when we accept what we cannot change, it can set us free to see a different way. That takes a lot of courage and imagination.

Now I know that I would never have found my love of writing, experienced immeasurable kindness, even moved to this amazing street, if the road hadn’t been blocked against my original plans. And this is a good way!

I’m sure you have road blocks in your life too. Look out for the grubby road-workers or smoking strangers. I bet you they’ll say, “Just give sit tight, love, and I’ll show you the way.”

You’ll get there in the end.

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