Getting There


(January 2012, originally printed in 280 Living, Birmingham, AL)

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At some point in a child’s development, a wire gets tripped and he or she begins to utter, “Are we there yet?” “How much farther?” “When is soon?”

I love these phrases.
Especially the incessant repetition.
On and on and on and on and…
And I realize that we cannot get there soon enough.
Getting to a destination is such an important part of life. Whether going to grandma’s, the grocery store, or the golf course, we want to get there, wherever there is. And do whatever it is we intend to do whenever we get there (though sometimes we arrive and wonder what exactly that “what” was). But it is not just limited to place-destinations, but also can be getting through seasons in life—graduation, promotion, Christmas (yes, it is once again eleven months away).
What gets really hard is when you are not sure where the destination is, only that you are not there yet, and not sure where it is, how to get there, or what it will look like when you arrive. It is more of a vague feeling—a very vague feeling.
I sit with many a person in my office who have no idea of where he or she is going in life; only that they are not there. I also sit with many a person who knows where he or she wants to go in life, but are crippled in any movement in that direction for fear of making the wrong move, doing the wrong thing, heading out at the wrong time. Life is maddening to such a person; for both, actually. Either you are pushed and pushed to hurry, hurry, hurry, hurry; or your insides are screaming, wait, wait, wait, wait.
It is really rather quite tragic.
You have heard it said, “whatever happened to just enjoying the ride?”—to enjoying the view as you go.
I’ll expose my faith perspective a bit here—a part of me believes that the holiness of God is more than just His rightness and righteousness. I think it has a lot to do with His personal presence—that wherever God is, He is fully there. Not distracted, not mentally somewhere else (though we won’t go into the whole omniscient/omnipresent thing right now); just here. I mean, it is pretty powerful when you know you have someone’s full attention; it’s like they are consuming you. Well, how much powerful is it when you have the Creator of the Universe’s whole attention? Wherever He is, He is fully there. And it feels like an all-consuming fire, which is often how His holiness and presence are described in the Bible. He is not worried or concerned about where He is going, when He’ll get there, or what it will be like when He arrives. He just is… which kind of puts the “I am that I am” statement in a new light.
We can do that too. Just being where we are, one step at a time. It can be far less crippling, and we can actually own far more patience (without even trying to be patient—patience becomes the fruit, the overflow, the fringe benefit of being focused on being right where you are—amazing).
Getting to a destination is not about looking back and seeing all the right or wrong decisions that were made along the way.
Getting to the destination is about looking at the identity achieved through the choices that were made; and perhaps the sights that were seen along the way.
I am who I am.
And here’s how I got here.
By the grace of God.


Paul Johnson is a professionally licensed marriage and family therapist, a professionally licensed counselor and a nationally certified counselor. Please consider contacting LifePractical Counseling for your counseling or consultant needs. You may reach us at 205-807-6645.