I hate long road trips. Like, absolutely DESPISE them. I can’t get comfortable. My back aches. The music starts to annoy me. I’m bored. Even worse, I’m sleepy. In short, it’s simply miserable. If the trip is over an eight hour drive, (maybe even six?), give me a plane ticket. Please and thanks!
During the summer of 2012, my family had the bright idea to take my young nephews (then, ages 4 and 9) first to Ft. Lauderdale then to Disney World in Orlando. By take, I mean drive. Yes, from Arkansas to South Florida. *blank stare* In typical family vacation fashion, we rented a large van, packed a cooler full of food, loaded up, and set out on the 17+ hour trip. If I remember correctly, we cleverly started our journey late at night. My dad is a pro at night driving (no literally, that’s been his profession for over a decade), and we thought we’d get almost half of the trip done without the commotion from two rowdy boys since they’d be sleeping. We thought wrong.
“I’m hungry.” When will we be in Florida?” “TeeTee, Zaire hit me!” “I want something to drink.” “I gotta pee.” “Are we there yet?” “My stomach hurts.” “I don’t like this old people music.” “Where are we?” “Can we watch a different movie?” “I don’t wanna play this game anymore.” “Ooooohh there’s a Lambo, M.C.4.P. (my car 4 pretend)!!” “ARE WE THERE YET??” [insert constant wrestling, whining, yelling, pouting, snoring, and other annoyances].
Not to mention the power struggle of four adults with different music preferences. Add my mother’s signature passenger-seat driver syndrome. OMG! By our breakfast stop (and stretch) at Cracker Barrel somewhere in Alabama the following morning, I was SERIOUSLY considering not getting back in the van and finding an alternate form of transportation to Orlando or even back home. I was over it!
My mom, on the other hand, absolutely loves a good, old-fashioned road trip. Using her handy dandy paper map, she points out all the cities and towns we drive through and provides a history lesson for each one. She will even convince my dad to occasionally pull over for a photo-op using her (yep, you guessed it) HUGE iPad (as if we aren’t “touristy” enough with our packed down minivan). We begrudgingly oblige. As you can imagine, the trip draaaagggs on, and my patience wears increasingly thin. After Zaylen asks, “Are we there yet?” approximately 1,789 times, I begin wondering the same.
With my headphones in my ears after nearly fifteen hours of driving, I begin banging my head against the window. I eventually ask out of sheer desperation, “DADDY, ARE WE THERE YET???” My quick-witted mother, surely also frustrated by this time, snaps back at me, “Just SHUT UP and enjoy the ride!” Ouch. (Even in adulthood, a stern word from my mother hurts my feelings. :-/) But, as usual, she was right.
“Life is a journey that must be traveled no matter how bad the roads and accommodations.” – Oliver Goldsmith
We are all on this journey called life. On this journey, I have set goals for myself. There are certain things that I expect to happen and achievements I hope to accomplish. The trip is long. It’s sometimes strenuous. It even gets boring. I [OFTEN] become impatient, frustrated, and sometimes even desperate. I’ve prayed for things, personally and professionally, that I absolutely believe will come to fruition for me. The pressing question is WHEN.
Maybe you’ve had a similar experience. Are you anxiously waiting to reach that place – that beautiful place of euphoria that we’ve created in our minds? That place of rest where we feel as if we’ve “made it.” That place of contentment where we are finally comfortable. That place of accomplishment where we are extremely successful. That place of bliss where we are completely happy. That place of giddiness where we are absolutely in love. That place of relief where we are financially stable. That place of purpose where we are utterly fulfilled. That place of peace where we are no longer overwhelmed, depressed, struggling, or worried. That place.
I’ll be honest; I have struggled with an intense yearning for that place. While I trust that I’ll get there, occasionally, I’ll impatiently call out,
“DADDY [GOD], ARE WE THERE YET!?”
Like my mom, although with less harshness and attitude, God reassures me to just enjoy the ride.
“Ugh. But I’m sick of the ride! This ride has taken long enough! When will ____________ happen for me?!?”
While my initial reaction is (obviously) full of displeasure, I’m learning to obey and actually appreciate my journey. By simply trusting God’s steadfast presence along the way, I’m comfortable. I’m happy. I’m fulfilled. I have peace. I’ve come to learn that that place is IN HIM.
I’m still on my journey. I don’t know the when, what, where, or how those other things will happen for me. But I’m [finally] okay with that. I may not know the when or the how, but I know the WHO. And that’s what the journey is about. I’m proceeding with prayer. I’m living in my now and enjoying the ride. Will you join me?
Florida Family Vacation 2012 (after fighting the entire drive)