Any parent who’s ever gone on a road trip has heard the familiar cry from the backseat. We try to point out the cool stuff along the way, like the hill that resembles a buffalo. We try to engage them in the joy of family togetherness because, really, how often are we all together like this? But it doesn’t work. Kids want to be there NOW.
You’d think as adults, we’d know better. You’d think we’d understand how important it is to slow down and savor the here and now. To soak up all of life’s experiences.But more often than not, our inner child continues to cry out, “Are we there yet?”
When I set out to write my novel, The Mother Road, I started with a simple idea: What would happen to a marriage expert if her husband demanded a divorce? Natalie Marino thought she had arrived. She believed she was existing in the now she’d worked so hard to achieve. But the end of her marriage is not only an emotional blow, it decimates the foundation of her career. Natalie finds herself starting a new journey, one she didn’t want to take and wasn’t prepared for.
Have you ever had that happen? You knew exactly where you were going. You had a plan, a roadmap, if you will. You set out with confidence, sure of your destination… and then something went wrong. Bad weather.An unexpected fork in the road. Four blown tires and no spare in the trunk. Before you know it, you’ve ended up in a place you never thought you’d be. You look back, and the cry isn’t “Are we there yet?” Now it’s “How did I get here?”
Life’s journey, however, is an amazing and complex thing. Often, it’s the unexpected bits—the twists and turns and detours—that lead us to the best parts of our lives.
We all start in the same place. We enter the world as tiny, helpless infants, dependent on others for our every need and desire. We all end in the same place. We cross the threshold from life to death to embrace the next life. It’s what’s in between the common experiences of birth and death that shapes the unique, one-of-a-kind person we all become.
No matter where you are in your journey, I encourage you to dig deep. If you’re experiencing pain or sorrow, acknowledge it, own it, then push through it to what’s beyond. There’s no joy without pain; no rainbow without rain; no diamond without extreme heat and pressure. If you’re living a life you love, soak it up like a sponge, then wring yourself out on the ones you love. Soak them in delight!
Are we there yet? No, not by a long shot. And aren’t you glad?
Jennifer AlLee believes the most important thing a woman can do is discover her identity in God – a theme that carries throughout her stories. She has written skits, activity pages, and over one hundred contributions to Concordia Publishing House’s popular My Devotions series. Her novels include The Love of His Brother (Five Star, November 2007), The Pastor’s Wife (Abingdon Press, February 2010), The Mother Road (Abingdon Press, April 2012), and the upcoming A Wild Goose Chase Christmas, book two in the Quilts of Love series (Abingdon Press, November 2012). She’s an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. Jennifer resides in the grace-filled city of Las Vegas with her husband and teenage son. Visit her website, see the book video, read the first chapter.