"I'll get those and be back for you within ten minutes," I boldly proclaimed to my beloved bride.
We were in Adventureland of The Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World. We'd settled on an open bench beside the iconic Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse for an afternoon snack break. My wife, who rarely asks for anything, had a craving for those warm, caramelized almonds they sell in the funnel shaped bag. With snack carts here and there, I knew I could get some soon. I thought.
I just had to get from A—our benches by the treehouse—to B—wherever that might be. With my near six year old son in tow, I set out. First snack cart in the direction I went was popcorn and soda. I asked them for direction to the nut stand. Yes, I am man enough to ask directions. They said just down the way and pointed the direction I was going. Great!
But it wasn't. Wasn't great. Wasn't the next cart. Or the next cart. Or the next cart way around the corner. About that time, having walked at a five year old's pace through the crowds, I knew my ten minute promise was blown. I looked at my son, determination in my eyes, "We're getting those nuts, Buddy. Let's keep going!" He grabbed my hand without a word and further we traveled.
Nuts! All the way around by the Liberty Belle Riverboat dockhouse we found them. Short wait. Two bags, please. And we were on our way back.
Arriving with a bit of pride and a bit of regret, someone asked with inflection that we took too long, "Where'd you have to go?" To which I recounted as above. Our friend, Jason, kindhearted and gentle a man as he is, said, "Did you cut through?"
"Cut through? Where?" I queried. "By the Bear Jamboree," he replied with a smile and an arm outstretched in that direction. The Shortcut. The Whodathunkit Shortcut.
When we walked back by later I took a good look. From both sides. You would have had been snooping in those shops or looking hard to know it was there. Or to have been there before.
If I would have known how far we'd be going to get the nuts, Jason would have told me before we left. But Jason, as much as he knows about Disney, is not omniscient. Of snack carts. Or of my direction.
Shortcuts. Most of us would love it if life had shortcuts. Many of us try to breeze by as if everything in life has shortcuts. But life doesn't always come with shortcuts. Sometimes the long way, the hard way, is the only way.
Thanks be to God—no matter the way—that He will lead us. He says, "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you as well," in Matthew 6:33. He'll provide what you need. He'll encourage you as you go. He'll show you the way.