Taking Shortcuts


When I was first married, Nan and I took a driving vacation around California with a side trip to Reno Nevada. My daily driver was almost identical to the vehicle above – a camper-converted 1960 Ford Vanette. Our subculture was in full swing and this was a very cool ride at the time. However, it was designed for city deliveries, not open road travel. Hence, it was pretty under-powered with a straight six and three on the tree (ask your parents if you need to).

I thought it would be a great idea to take a shortcut across the Sierra Nevada mountains and save some time. Umm, wrong. The climb was steep and we only barely made it on one leg of the road – I think Nan had to get out and push. It may have been a dirt road – I can’t remember. We didn’t see another vehicle the whole time. Anyway, not a way to impress my new bride.

I get in trouble with other shortcuts as well. I try to simplify complicated instructions – I mean, are all those steps REALLY necessary for success (as I descale our failing coffee machine for the first time since buying it 2 years ago)? I don’t need ALL the ingredients for a particular recipe, do I? Do I need to wait that long before a second coat of paint? And that primer coat was just a suggestion, right? Maybe you can relate.

We can take relational shortcuts too. After a break in trust there are certain things that need to be done for restoration. It might mean giving your spouse complete access to everything including all your emails, your cell phone, all your social media – everything. Are you willing to surrender your right to privacy? Are you ready to make restitution for any wrong you did? Or do you just want to act like nothing happened? That’s a shortcut.

Some other shortcuts:

  • Avoiding premarital preparation
  • Having sex before marriage
  • Buying things on credit rather than saving for them
  • Expecting people to do things for you that you can do for yourself
  • Taking action before thinking through a problem
  • Engaging in risky weight loss schemes rather than having a long term plan
  • Cheating on tests, or copying other people’s answers
  • Engaging in illegal pursuits for personal or monetary gains

To drive this point home, today I installed a garbage disposer. It looked pretty much like the one I was replacing. It fit well so I hooked up the plumbing and electrical and everything looked great and it spun around like a champ. I fired up the dishwasher that had been waiting with dishes for a couple of days, but it didn’t drain. Looking at step 15 and 16 on the installation guide (which I ignored), it said “IMPORTANT: When installing dishwasher drain, knock out plastic plug prior to installing drain hose. Enough said.

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