Yesterday we took a trip to the San Antonio Texas Temple. We try to go about once a month, and we’ve gotten really used to taking the trip down there. Yesterday, as usual, we wanted to go to the 9:30am session so that we could get done in time to come back home and get our Saturday chores and activities done. It takes us about 2 hours to drive from our house to the temple, so we have to get up fairly early to make it on time and be ready for the session. Yesterday we got out of the house a bit late and were really in a hurry to get there on time. As we were rushing along the toll road headed to the temple, I started to notice signs saying that the new section of the toll road was open going to San Antonio! I knew that the speed limit on that new section was 85 mph and the thought crossed my mind that if we took that way we’d get to the temple faster. Faster speed must mean earlier arrival time, right?
I made a split second decision to take the new road. Not only was this way faster, but for this time it was free! How could it get better? We were driving faster and even had more beautiful scenery to look at than the crazy traffic and busy city that we usually saw on our normal route. As we drove along I admired the wide open sky and the green fields that seemed to stretch on forever. I watched the hawks and eagles soaring and marveled at the beauty of the earth that I was seeing.
As we got farther and farther along this new highway, however, my focus started to shift from the scenery and to the time. We were traveling very quickly, but I was realizing that I had no idea where this new highway connected to roads that I knew. The minutes were flying by much faster than I thought they would, and we weren’t seeing anything familiar. I really had no idea what roads to take now to get to the temple. The ultra-fast toll road that we had been on ended in a small town with much slower speed limits and I had to deal with bumpy back roads and stop lights. I had to make several guesses on what way to go. When we only had 5 minutes left until our session was due to start and we knew that we were going to be late, we still hadn’t found a main road that I could connect to the temple on. Finally, when we were already late, I found the highway loop that I recognized would take us to the temple. I was very discouraged. I had tried hard to make it in time and had thought that my decision earlier would help us be earlier, but instead it had put us very behind schedule.
We eventually did make it to the temple but weren’t able to attend our session. I was grateful for the opportunity to participate in other ordinances but was still disappointed that we had missed our original plan. We were able to enjoy the blessings of the temple but perhaps had missed out on an opportunity to feel the spirit and learn from our session.
After we had finished our activities in the temple and were on our way home, I couldn’t help but think about how my experience from that morning could be an example for our lives. In life, we have an ultimate goal and purpose to get to the Celestial Kingdom. Sometimes on our journey through life, however, we get distracted by other roads that look like they might be shortcuts. The road is new and the speed limit is high. We sometimes fly along these roads enjoying the scenery and the speed but are completely oblivious to the fact that our beautiful vistas and breathtaking speed are speeding us away from our goal. When we realize our mistake, it can be too late. We are already off course and have to make major adjustments to our direction to get back on course. We have lost precious time and opportunities.
In my trip to the temple, I knew the right way to go. I knew exactly where it lead, and I knew that it would likely get us to the temple on time. In our lives, much like my trip to the temple, we should remember that we do know the path we should take. We have the direction of the Spirit and of prophets and apostles to keep us on the straight and narrow road to the Celestial Kingdom. Let us heed their counsel and teachings and avoid the seemingly attractive detours that life will present to us.