Welcome to the inaugural post of ‘My Paisley Heart’! Thanks so much for popping by to check out my new blog.
To kick things off, I’d like to share a little essay that I wrote a few years ago called “The Longcut”. I hope it inspires you in some way.
We love shortcuts. We look for them every day. When we travel, we map out the most direct routes, look for the fastest highways, and the places where we can bypass the traffic congestion that may slow us down. When at the market, we seek the checkout lane with the fewest people and then grow impatient when the lady in front of us needs a price check. And in school, most of us at one time or another, resorted to using CliffsNotes before a big exam because we did not wish to take the time to read or study the assigned material.
We are a people accustomed to instant gratification. We have a difficult time waiting for anything and patience is definitely not our strongest virtue. We want it when we want it and in many cases nothing will stop us from obtaining it-even if it means charging an enormous sum on our Visa Card because we MUST improve our Foxtrot and Tango skills at expensive Arthur Murray dance lessons (for instance). We simply do not like to wait. We often refuse to take the time to muddle through, to read the directions, to devote our time to learn a new skill, or to save our money for the purchase we want. We want to find the easiest way possible.
Mathematics teaches us that the shortest distance between any two points is a straight line. While fundamentally true, I have to wonder if this principle is just as effective when it comes to life. If we are so focused on getting from point A to point B as quickly as possible, what do we ever learn about ourselves in the process? What memories do we make? What kind of character do we build within ourselves?
My husband and I love to take our Jeep out on Saturday afternoons and just drive. With no particular destination in mind, we often head out into the country and take an interesting side road just to see where it goes. It is on these roads that we often find the kinds of treasures one would never find by sticking to the main path. We have seen interesting wildlife, old bridges, spectacular homes, time-worn cemeteries, abandoned churches, and even waterfalls. It is during these “stop and smell the wild flowers” moments that we have made some of our fondest memories.
Our very first home (some twenty years ago now) was located several miles from the nearest town. There was a ‘quick’ way to get to town and there was a ‘longer’ way. We discovered this ‘longer’ way one day while out exploring the area. The old gravel road wound over mountains, over creeks, past little country cottages, through heavily shaded forest, and finally met up with the main road. We named this route ‘the longcut’. The drive was beautiful and it became our preferred route.
I believe that sometimes in life we are better for taking the longcut. The road is not always as smooth or as straight as we would like, but just imagine all of the things that would be lost to us if we only stuck to the main path! We would never fully experience beauty, pleasure, gratitude, disappointment, or frustration, which is often followed by the satisfaction that comes from perseverance and ‘sticking it out’. We would never develop any patience.
Each day we are confronted with new situations and challenges that we can either choose to see as a nuisance or as an opportunity from which to grow. We can live the CliffsNotes version of life and never really live or we can turn each page and live a story worth telling.
The shortcut or the longcut. The choice is ours.