#45 – Advent 2 – PTSD, Advent, and family road trips


Are we there yet?

Are we there yet?

Are we there yet?

One thing we specifically find hard to wait for is when what we’re experiencing is not what we want.

It’s one thing to wait for your birthday to come as a kid, but in the meantime, you ride your bike with your friends, go to school, play, etc etc.

Normal day, normal day, normal day, normal day…….BIRTHDAY PARTY FOR ME DAY.

That’s not such a bad kind of waiting, because things are “normal”… then get better.

I’ve recently had what feels like a relapse in PTSD symptoms, but am told is actually a good sign that additional processing, healing, progress is being made. But I continue to live with the reality that I’m still not ‘back to normal’

This is not the same kind of waiting.

It’s more like:
Worse than normal, worse than normal, worse than normal ——> when does this end?

I sometimes just feel like that kid stuck in the back of the 1981 Ford Econoline van with his 4 siblings driving across the prairies to get to Grandma’s house for Christmas Eve. In that kind of pitch-black that only comes from living so far north that the sun sets mid-afternoon in late December. Hours, upon hours, upon hours it seems.

Are we there yet?
Are we there yet?
What about NOW?
How much longer?

Advent in some ways is the kid-waiting-for-his-birthday kind of waiting.
We continue with our normal lives and know that there will be a pleasant change at the end.

Normal day, normal day, normal day, normal day………. CHRISTMAS.

However, as creatures made in the image of God, we constantly long for something more than this fallen world has to offer.

Things around us are broken.
Life is hard.
Bad things happen to those we love.
Addictions are real.
Racism abounds.
People starve.
Friends betray.

The miracles we see Jesus performing in the Bible were in many ways Him pulling back the curtain to what originally was, and what will be when He comes again

He heals a man who can’t walk – as there will be no sickness.
He multiplies bread and fish – as there will be no hunger.
He calms the storm – as there will be no fear
He raises his friend Lazarus from the grave – as there will be no death.

THAT is what we long for, even when we don’t realize it.

We were not created to be trapped in the back of a van in the dark.

We were meant to be at our grandmother’s house, full of cousins, and relatives, and food, and drink, and presents, and singing, and laughing.

THAT is what our souls long for…and we will be restless in this waiting until we get there.

THAT is the other kind of Advent waiting. We know things aren’t right yet…but they won’t always be this way.


Here is the most famous quotation from St Augustine’s confessions:

You are great, O Lord, and greatly to be praised. Great is your power, and of your wisdom, there is no measure. And yet we want to praise you—we who are some part of your creation.
We also carry our mortality about with us, carry the evidence of our sin and with it the proof that you thwart the proud. You arouse us so that praising you brings us joy.
For you have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.

Augustine lived a life of influence, power, money, friends, in what is now Algeria. When he was a bit older, he realized his life was empty. It’s like he understood he wasn’t living a constant “every-day-IS-my-birthday” kind of reality – but more of a “are we there yet?” world troubled by sin.

What does this mean to you?
Where does your heart feel restless?
What do you think your heart SHOULD feel restless about?


A Prayer of Augstine:

My God,
let me know and love you,
so that I may find my happiness in you.
Since I cannot fully achieve this on earth,
help me to improve daily until I may do so to the full.
Enable me to know you ever more on earth,
so that I may know you perfectly in heaven.
Enable me to love you ever more on earth,
so that I may love you perfectly in heaven.
In that way my joy may be great on earth,
and perfect with you in heaven.
O God of truth, grant me the happiness of heaven
so that my joy may be full in accord with your promise.
In the meantime let my mind dwell on that happiness,
my tongue speak of it,
my heart pine for it,
my mouth pronounce it,
my soul hunger for it,
my flesh thirst for it,
and my entire being desire it
until I enter through death in the joy of my Lord forever.