Rerouting 

By Janice Lane Palko 

“Your life is heading down one path, and then suddenly, in an instant, it all changes.” Those words were uttered by a former St. Benedict Academy classmate of mine over the holidays when she came to Pittsburgh from Florida for a visit after not seeing each other for 43 yearsSadly, she was forced to leave our high school back in 1976 when her mother suddenly died during our junior year. Several other classmates and I were able to reconnect with our friend after finding her on Facebook.  

If you use a GPS to navigate, I’m sure you’ve had this experience at some time. You plug in a destination, follow the prompts, and then maybe miss a turn or take a shortcut not recognized by the app, and you find yourself heading in direction plotted by the GPS. The app usually flashes a “Rerouting . . .” message and tries to reorient you toward your final destination.  

Life can be like that GPS. There were nine of us who were able to meet with our long-lost classmate, and as we sat around the dining room table in another friend’s home, we caught our friend up on our lives, and she told us about hers.  

And as I looked at these women that I’ve known since we were 14, I couldn’t help but take stock of where our paths of life had led us over the decades. Two of the nine had battled and beaten cancer. Rerouting . Two had been divorced. Rerouting. . .  One had suffered the death of a child. Rerouting. . .  One had had a husband and two sons deployed during the war in Afghanistan. Rerouting . . . Two had recently lost parents to Alzheimer’s. Rerouting . .  

Though all of us had suffered some sort of loss or faced some sort of difficulty since we last saw our friend in 1976, every one of us turned out to be responsible member of society. We were loving wives, moms, and, for three of us, now grandmothers as well as being teachers, accountants, chefs, nurses, etc. None of us, after our lives had gone off course, remained lost for very longEach had rerouted and plowed ahead with her life.  

But the larger question is: Where were we rerouting to? Where were we all heading? Although no one there stated it implicitly during our conversation, I knew that faith still played an important part in all of our lives. Sometimes I think that when you’re aiming for a Divine destination, it’s easier to reroute when life throws you off course.  

You may not be a person of faith; if not, I still urge you think of what you want your destination to be. Where are you heading? What is your lodestar? What are you going to chart your course to? Everyone needs a destination so that when you are forced to reroute, and you will during sometime in your life, you can still find your way. If you don’t know where you’re going, how are you ever going to get there?