“Life – changing Detours by Reva Lachica Moore

“This is Captain Anderson. If you’re taking Northwest Orient flight No.7823 to Manila, you just missed it!” the pilot of the Northwest Orient jet announced in the intercom.

“Am I the only passenger affected by this?” I wondered why the announcement did not create a commotion among the passengers. We still had three hours of flight before our arrival in Tokyo. Half-asleep, I did not hear the whole announcement. The American guy in an Air Force uniform next to me confirmed my suspicion. The plane I was supposed to take from Tokyo to Manila had just left. And I was left behind!

On that cold and dreary May morning in 1968, I was on my way home to the Philippines after spending two months with the McLartys in Memphis. Due to snow flurries, my plane going to Dallas was delayed. Therefore, I had to be rerouted to another plane bound for Anchorage, Alaska. This change of flight resulted in a three-hour delay of my plane’s arrival in Tokyo. The Air Force man had befriended me during the 9 hour-flight.

“Don’t you worry. If you have to stay in Tokyo, you and I could go around the city tonight.”

I didn’t like his suggestion. At 19, I was still quite naive and had not been to many places except Manila prior to my adventurous travel to the U.S. I looked at the man and shook my head, “No, thanks.”

At the Tokyo airport, I went straight to the Northwest Orient counter. No one spoke a word of English. In their sharp and few-syllable words, I could tell they had to wait for someone of authority to decide what to do with me. After what seemed like forever, I inquired at the counter again. A woman worker directed me to a shuttle bus outside. In her Japanese words, I caught the word ‘hotel.’ As I boarded the bus, I was surprised to see around 30 U.S. Air Force men inside. I was the only civilian. A few started to whistle. Some laughed. I was terrified. Then I saw a familiar face—the man who sat next to me on the plane. He had a big grin on his face.

That night, I stayed in a hotel room since I did not want the Air Force man to find me. I went to bed without supper. The following morning, the Air Force man spotted me in the lobby. He said he had looked for me the night before. Thank God he did not find me. I went back to the airport. By mid-day I was on my way to Manila. I made it home all right only to find out that my luggage was left in Tokyo.

When you go places, don’t you wish to reach your destination without a problem? And on time? However, this is not always the case. Sometimes, you go through an unexpected DETOUR. And along the way, there are surprises. Some pleasant, some not. Sometimes a DETOUR along the way could change your life forever.

As a young girl, I had dreamed to be a nurse. The thought of wearing a white uniform and helping sick people fascinated me. But my older sister Ruth, a nurse, had a different idea. There were already two nurses in our family; she did not want a third one (in the end, our family ended up with 4 nurses anyway, besides 3 in-laws who are nurses). She told me about medical technologists and their interesting laboratory work. But no matter how hard she tried to convince me, I told her, “No thanks! I want to be a nurse and a nurse only.”

The day of enrollment for college finally came. I was ecstatic. My dream to become a nurse was within reach. But I did not know how to line up my subjects, and with over 2000 students in the college auditorium, enrolling was quite tough. (Unlike how students enroll in the U.S. using the phone or the Internet, back in the Philippines, we stood in line to enroll for each class.)

Ruth took a day off and traveled 3 hours by bus to help me enroll. I was thrilled! I didn’t have to do anything but follow her everywhere. After a whole morning of tiresome work, we were done. Our last requirement was to stand in line and talk with the head of the Nursing Department. Ruth explained that this person had to OK all my subjects before I could start. I was smiling from ear to ear for soon it would be my turn. Only a few more students ahead of me, and I’d be facing the most important person in my college life. Finally, I saw just two more students in front of me and I was flabbergasted, for on the table was a big sign: MEDICAL TECHNOLOGY. I wanted to scream!

“How can you do this to me?” I asked my sister. “You deceived me.”

Her explanation fell on deaf ears. I was very disappointed; I wanted to cry. My beautiful dream to become a Florence Nightingale just disappeared before my eyes. Even if I tried to line up subjects in nursing, it was already too late. I wouldn’t get the subjects I wanted.

With a broken heart, I went back to the dorm. It was very tough to accept what happened that day. But after much prayer, my disappointment started to vanish. I began accepting the idea that I would still wear a white uniform and help the sick, but in a different way.

Amazingly, I started to like the career Ruth had chosen for me. Many years later, I thanked her for what she did.

Did you have to go through life-changing detours in your life? Maybe the time you found the Lord and decided to serve Him? God has a plan for your life, a purpose that He desires you to fulfill.

I have since had many life-changing detours. A few quite devastating but had always seen the Lord’s leading and guidance.

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”