As the summer approaches and the temperatures rise, memories of family vacations come to mind. When I was a child, my family loaded up the blue Impala, no AC, and drove from Nova Scotia to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. I remember being impressed with kudzu, dreading telling my father I needed to stop for a bathroom break, and being really, really hot. I also recall my siblings and I asking that proverbial and annoying question over and over again: Are we there yet?
No matter when it was asked the response seemed to always be the same, “We’re about thirty minutes out.” I suspect my parents thought that amount of time felt palatable to us and would prevent us from asking again too soon.
Frankly, at this point in the pandemic, I feel like that little kid in the back of an unairconditioned Chevrolet on a remote highway asking over and over again: Are we there yet? It seems like the answer has been “almost” for a very long time. That thirty minutes sure is moving slowly and I am getting cranky and not too sure the pay off at the end is worth the uncomfortable miles it is taking to get there. I am to that point in the road trip when if my sister crosses the invisible line into my space one more time there is going to be drama. The scenery along the roadside doesn’t seem to change and I have now learned that the kudzu I thought so exotic and beautiful is really an invasive weed.
ARE WE THERE YET?!
Well, almost. Maybe. We hope. We’re about thirty minutes out.
We are back in worship, in person, but only in the sanctuary, not in the Life Center yet. We have a children’s time, but we do not yet have the nursery up and running. Pew cushions are coming back (hooray!) but masks are still required (boo!). Some Sunday School classes are choosing to meet in person, some online, some not at all for the summer. Livestreaming the service from the sanctuary is available but hybrid classrooms not ready as of yet. We are planning for the Fall, uncertain what restrictions, if any, will be in place.
ARE WE THERE YET?!
Well, almost. Maybe. We hope. Just thirty more minutes.
Yeah, right, you said that an hour ago and an hour before that, too!
And we’re all a little grumpy with our traveling companions and why is it that we’re always the one seated on the side that puts us in the sun and, oh by the way, I need a bathroom break!
But just when we think we might not be able to stand one more minute in the car, we smell the salt water, and the sand appears and all of a sudden the Impala comes to a stop and YOU ARE THERE! Everyone heads for the surf without even going inside to change into swimsuits. Space. Wind. Vast expanse of blue sky and sea. The long miles were, in fact, worth the destination.
We will get there. There will be a return to many of the things we’ve missed, we’ll go to those favorite restaurants and play putt-putt at the course we always play. We’ll also do some new things together, too. Maybe we’ll rent some bikes and try that paddle board tucked under the deck. We will create new stories and memories and relationships. We’ll eat together and play together and discover we really do love each other, even if we still get annoyed when we’re crammed together in the backseat. We’ll remember all the effort was worth it, we may even laugh at some of the events that made us so mad at the time. We will be glad, thankful, that God put us together in this family because we can’t imagine going on this journey with anyone else.
We’re almost there.