The shortest distance between two points is a straight line, Mrs. Whatsit and Mrs. Who notwithstanding. The 10-year-old version of me that read something of A Wrinkle in Time only passed one portion down to my adult self: where Whatsit and Who explain how an ant could travel more quickly from one part of a skirt to another if only the fabric were folded. Applying handwavium (the most important element in science fiction) to the mathematical concept of a tesseract, we travel the distance between two points without traversing the line between. (Instead of wrinkles in time’s skirt, Trekkies think of warp engines and worm holes, powered by the same handwavium.)

Much later, I have come to deem some of the explanations in non-Euclidean geometry (not the actual mathematics) to commit a similar obfuscation. There are different models: on a sphere a line could be a circle, a line segment an arc. That much is fine. But it seems the explanations play the trick of confusing formerly distinct terms; as if the professor asks how to spell “dog”, and then proffers “c-a-n-i-n-e” as an alternative—referring to the term in the former case, its referent in the latter.

In biblical terms, there is no journey-reducing wrinkle to the things worth obtaining. The line to blessing goes through obedience: “You shall be careful therefore to do as the Lord your God has commanded you. You shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. You shall walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land that you shall possess.”

And the line to wisdom includes patience (even when spelled e-n-d-u-r-a-n-c-e): “…the trying of your faith works patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, lacking nothing. If one among you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God… But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. …A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. … Blessed is the man that endures temptation….”

This week, may we stay on the path God has given us to blessing and wisdom. It may not seem the shortest, but it is the only.