“Are we there yet?”
“When will we get there?”
“How much longer do we have to drive?”
“Are we there yet?”
My family took two long road trips in May and June of this year. Between the two trips, we spent about 75-hours driving. Plus stops. That’s a lot of *quality* time together in the car. lol.
Usually my kids get car sick, but God was gracious this year and we did not have a single incident. We also potty trained the toddler (a second time) between the two trips – and he only had one accident in the car the whole time.
This is pretty amazing for us. We’ve been known to turn a 6-hour drive into a 12-hour trip with stops for car-sickness, potty breaks, and nursing babies in addition to stops for food and fuel. Whether our stops are few or frequent, there are still long hours to spend in the car, whittling away at the miles between us and our next destination.
And, like many families, we hear a lot of, “Are we there yet?”
I get it, though. It’s hard for kids. Especially the younger ones who don’t really understand how time works just yet. “Twelve more hours” means about as much as “Purple Tuesday” to a two-year old.
The younger we are, the less experience we have with time passing. To a two-year old who has only been alive for about 17,000 hours (compared to my almost 17,000 days), 75 hours is a lot. We’re talking about 0.4% of his life, vs. 0.01% of mine.
So answers like “We’ll get there when we get there!” (adopted from The Incredibles) or “We’ve still got a long-long-long-long time to drive! Let’s enjoy it!” become the norm. And really, those answers (when delivered sweetly!) are enough for a little one who cannot comprehend abstract concepts like time and distance just yet.
Sometimes I think I need answers like that, too.
You see, I’m not there yet. I haven’t arrived. And my experience with time is limited compared to my Father who exists outside of time. Talk about an abstract concept!
So often (like every morning in my devotions, and every Sunday in Sunday school, the sermon, and in evening worship, not to mention all the moments in between when I read or hear something from a writer or song) I am confronted with my dream destination: the woman I want to be, who I am created to be in Christ, the mom I want to be, the friend I want to be… I see a “travel brochure” that draws me in and I ache to be there already.
Then I hear little voices shouting from their beds, growing feet pounding away on the floor above my head, toddler-tween-and-teen voices bickering, and my own voice rising above the din with less than gracious words or tones, and I wonder, “When will I get there?“
Sometimes I am tempted to give up the journey. It seems too long, too hard, and I get sick from the curves of the road of life. I’m tired of being strapped to my seat, feeling powerless to do anything to expedite the trip because someone else is driving. And I whine and complain and repeatedly ask, “Are we there yet? How much longer? Why does it have to be so far away?”
And my patient Father replies, “We’ll get there when we get there. Let’s enjoy the ride!”
My ache to “arrive” drives me to him. It encourages me heavenward.
His gentle answer reminds me how far I’ve already come. He strengthens me for the remaining distance. He promises the journey will end – and I will be delighted with the destination.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained.
Philippians 3:12-16, NIV