Detours and destinations
Saturday. Afternoon. Rain.
I sat by the window in a café sipping tea. I took a bite of the cupcake. I randomly arranged things in my bag, hoping to find a bill of any worth that I had kept. I could not help but stare at the scenes playing out around me, as if they were telling pieces of a story.
There were people loudly speaking with their headsets connected to their phones as they explained reasons behind missed deadlines and employee absences due to the heavy downpour.
There was the smell of books waiting for their turn to be read, and pastel-colored markers to highlight notes in them. There was the bittersweet aroma of coffee and milk, a surefire combination to fight one’s drowsy reading ordeal.
One could feel the chaos in the moment. I took a deep breath and closed my eyes.
I am a person of plans. People know me as someone who is organized, on time, on top of his to-do list. The planner is my best friend of sorts. I have been accustomed to methods. I have a deep affection for order. I see plans like they are blueprints.
But along the course of my life, I have had a fair share of unplanned events that taught me things I thought I would never learn.
I felt that everything was in control until college. My vision was to become a bank teller, so I took up accountancy. I was in the process of weaving my dream, until the initial major detour happened. Caught off guard, I was booted out of the accountancy program. I still managed to graduate on time despite being advised to shift; I tried to regain my composure by convincing myself that the battle was not yet over.
After graduation, it was time to look for a job. My vision became more specific — to be a teller for a bank in my hometown. That was the plan. That was the dream.
And so, I found myself passionately job-hunting by sending intent to almost all banks in the city. But, in time, I found myself bound for another detour.
After months of preemployment exams and interviews, I failed to land a job in my hometown. The plan did not materialize. It did not work out the way I had wanted it to be.
Detours, as surprising as they are, can really make or break us. Detours can be painful. Detours can create unnecessary commotion. Detours can be sources of conflict. Detours can be time-consuming. Detours can be dangerous, forcing us to pass through unfamiliar places and face an unknown future.
But, somehow, we can view it from a different perspective, too. Detours may serve as avenues for growth. Detours are favorable and unfavorable events that we just need to manage. They require us to be agents of change, and teach us creativity. And most importantly, detours instill in us patience, perseverance and prayer in our journey toward the destination we are truly meant for.
When things don’t go our way, we practice the value of patience. Sometimes, we become so involved in letting our plans consume us. We insist on letting things happen our way. In doing so, we manipulate certain events in our lives by moving the hands of time so we can reach our goals faster. Little do we know that some plans, when carried out in a rush, can prove to be massive disasters.
When things don’t go our way, we embrace the value of perseverance. While waiting for our plans to crystallize, we drive ourselves to be better in our current preoccupation. We realize our potentials by maximizing all available resources that we have. It is a training ground that builds strength of character, which strengthens us to overcome setbacks.
When things don’t go our way, we encourage ourselves through prayer. Prayer is an essential part in facing and surviving detours. When we pray, we believe that there is a powerful, omnipotent force out there orchestrating events. Even when seemingly hostile changes confront us, with prayer, we remain steadfast that everything will be granted in accordance with the master plan for each one of us.
Detours did happen, but I eventually arrived at my destination. I wasn’t able to work as a bank teller. But I got to work in various roles in the banking industry, ranging from cost bookings and financial spreading to risk grading and fund accounting. I wasn’t able to work for a bank in my hometown. But I did work for service centers of top-caliber multinational banks in Manila.
I believe that we will all reach our destinations even with the constant, inevitable changes in our lives. Each one of us will be granted opportunities that will hone us to face this complex world.
We may not know precisely how all of these things will come into place. But, with hopeful hearts, we can only pray for destinations that are lovely, promising and fulfilling.
I opened my eyes and let out a deep sigh. Ordinary humanity was still playing out around me — people talking on their mobile phones but more calmly now, the pile of books and their busy pastel markers, the aroma of coffee and milk that have done their job to keep a reader alive and alert.
I stood up, picked up my things and left the café. Outside, I looked around and felt a cool breeze brush over me. The rain was gone.
This had been a detour, and now I was off to my next destination.
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Marlon A. Tindoy, 29, is a billing operations analyst for a business process outsourcing company — a testament that detours continue to move in his life.
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