Roadblocks, Barricades, Detours

A good deal happens in a man's life that he isn't responsible for. Fortunate openings occur; but it is safe to remember that such "breaks" are occurring all the time, and other things being equal, the advantage goes to the man who is ready.


I met a woman at the mineral springs in Ojo Calienté, New Mexico. She had a gentle, open way. She talked to me about rituals, about miracles, about change. "My husband and I badly wanted a child, but I couldn't get pregnant," she said. "One night, I decided to go to a mikvah, a Jewish ritual bath. My decision felt powerful. But every obstacle you could imagine happened when I tried to get there. I could barely get out of my house. Then when I did, I got lost and had to go back home for directions. When I finally got to the bath, it was just beginning, but I knew I needed to be there. The night was electric. The air felt as if it were charged with lightning. It was a full moon. I went through the ritual and returned home. That night, my daughter was conceived. She's now seven years old."

There are often obstacles on our path. Roadblocks, barricades, detours. Things to go over, around, or under. Sometimes, the roadblocks are telling us no, this door isn't opening. Find another way. Other times the roadblocks are telling us that the road we have chosen is very special. If we want to go down it, we will have to try. We will have to focus. We will have to muster our energy and show the world how badly we want it. We will have to overcome each and every obstacle, one by one, as they appear.

What do you want badly? are you willing to go through an obstacle course, if need be, to achieve it? Are you willing to focus, push forward, go the distance?

Sometimes, the road ahead is blocked,
but clearing the way becomes part of
our journey. Learn to tell when it's time
to let go, to surrender, to search for
another road, a different path, another
dream. But also learn to tell when it's
time to move forward, through obstacles
if need be, because the dream is electric,
charged by Divine energy and love.
Melody Beattie, this week's guest author

- Melody Beattie, excerpt from Journey to the Heart

About the Author

Beattie was a struggling single parent of two children and freelance author and journalist cranking out stories for a small-town daily newspaper in 1986 when she came up with a book idea. She wanted to write a book about what happens to people when they love someone who is addicted to alcohol and other drugs. Hazelden Publishing understood how families of alcoholics suffer and believed Beattie's book idea would help people. Beattie marched to the welfare department, asked for enough financial help to make it through the three months it would take her to write the book, then locked herself in a basement office and cranked out Codependent No More. Codependent No More has now sold 3.5 million copies. Beattie has since written nine more books, five for major publishing houses on the east and west coasts. She relocated from Minnesota to California, and she has long-since paid back the welfare department. Beattie has appeared in the pages of Newsweek and People and has been a regular guest on Geraldo and Oprah.

All the performances of human art, at which we look with praise or wonder, are instances of the resistless force of perseverance; it is by this that the quarry becomes a pyramid, and that distant countries are united with canals. If a man was to compare the single stroke of the pickaxe, or of one impression of the spade, with the general design and the last result, he would be overwhelmed by the sense of their disproportion; yet those petty operations, incessantly continued, in time surmount the greatest difficulties, and mountains are leveled and oceans bounded by the slender force of human beings.


When I want to accomplish something in my life, waiting (for one reason or another) can be a roadblock. There are many times when I hold back, often because I am afraid, somehow. It usually does come down to fear in some way, because love would not let me hold me back. To get through this roadblock, I must walk through the fear and start taking care of who I am and what I need. Acting upon my decisions is the way around such roadblocks in my life.

So, I ask myself: What have I needed and not spoken up about? What words did I want to say that were never spoken? What dream do I have that I am not moving towards? What relationships do I need to pay attention to? What boundaries do I need to set? What am I waiting for? Permission? Approval? Validation? Who am I expecting to give it to me?

Waiting for other people to figure out what I need can cause me to be angry and resentful when, over and over again, people fail to recognize what I needed. It isn't until I stop waiting for them to figure it out, and I start educating them about how to be with me, that I am able to let go of the anger and feel joy in my relationships.

Here is a challenge to myself to overcome these roadblocks: I will make two columns on a piece of paper, and write down all the things I am waiting for in my life in the left column. In the right column I will write down one action step I can take to stop waiting. Then I will take the step. I will continue taking these steps until I am no longer waiting and I am living my life fully.

James Nuechterlein, in an article titled Life at the Intellectual Barricades (First Things, Oct. 1994), stated, "Keep ideology one's servant, not one's master. Our necessary frameworks of understanding must be kept flexible and self-critical, open to experience, uncertainty, and surprise. Ideology interprets experience - life does not present itself to us simply as one damn thing after another - but ideology must always be subject to revision on the basis of experience."

One of the greatest barricades in my life is to let my thinking stagnate, to believe that what I know is enough. In order to move around my self-imposed barricades, my challenge is to occasionally revise my ideology in favor of innovative thinking and take a fresh approach to a problem. If I do the same thing as I did last time, I may get the same result. If I didn't like the result last time, I probably won't like it this time, either.

When driving in an unfamiliar area, while looking for a place I am supposed to be, I tell myself that "I am not lost, I am simply on an adventure." A great part of the beauty of this country can be found on adventures like these. I get to see places that, otherwise, would have gone unnoticed and unappreciated. Detours have a purpose. They often keep me safe from the harm that would come from taking another route. There is a lesson in each experience, and a detour may be the best way to get to the end of an experience for just that very lesson.

Sarah ban Breathnach (it's pronounced "Brannock"), in Simple Abundance - A Daybook of Comfort and Joy put it this way, "If we are willing to learn our lessons gently, they patiently await us in countless ways... Of course, the unexpected often catches us by surprise. But if we are open to and grateful for gentle lessons, new teachers will appear in our path. Serendipity can instruct us as much as sorrow."

A roadblock can let me know it is time to move on, to make a decision and to take action. A barricade informs me that I have something to work on, a creative or innovative change to make in my life. A detour can give me the opportunity for an unexpected blessing, a valuable life experience that can enrich my life and broaden my horizons.

Go past them, go around them, charge through them. From Gordon B. Hinckley, "Life is like an old time journey... delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders, and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas, and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride."

It's been a wonderful ride, so far, Lord!

Peace and Light, Michael


  The Author & His Bride

About the Author

Michael is an electrical design engineer, a Freemason, father/stepdad of 8 and grandfather of 15 wonderful kids. His wife was his date to the Jr. Prom in 1967. Friday's Inspiration began as an email message to 8 individuals at work in 1998.

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