Tomorrow marks four weeks here in Vienna. People have asked me what I think of it. To answer honestly I have to say that it is beautiful but these first weeks have been full of office visits and paper work and living in a space that, while very nice, is not ours.
One of the reasons I wanted to come to Vienna was because I want my boys to learn to embrace adventure and not shy away from new things because they are unknown or uncertain or even because they might fail. They are seeing now some of the difficulties of entering into the unknown as we wait for our bank funds to be available and wait on papers that are needed to complete the next steps and try to communicate with people about important things in a language that is not our own. It is frustrating and hard. I can’t say that we have been the picture of grace as we have wrestled with these things, but still we press on. And there has been provision in the midst of difficulty–helpfulness and generosity from people who hardly know us but still want to help. I hope the boys see this too. This morning when we Sebastian and I were walking home from school the words to this song came to mind:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning, new every morning. Great is your faithfulness, O Lord. Great is your faithfulness.
May they know in the midst of all the craziness, now and whatever comes, the tender kind care of the God who made and loves them.
I have no doubt Vienna will rise to the occasion in teaching them to embrace adventures and take risks. Life here is simply different from in America. You see it on the playground: equipment that encourages climbing and balancing and spinning and hanging without all of the safety nets in place. You see it on the subway: the sign that reads children under age 6 must be accompanied by an adult. In gym class: Gabriel came home saying gym was like American Ninja Warrior climbing horizontally on ladders that stretch across the ceiling. Children here are not so carefully protected, and while it feels a bit scary to me, they are growing in confidence in learning their own abilities. They pay attention on the subway how to get from one place to the next and study the map. They notice places and directions as we walk along and remember the way, asking me not to tell them which way to go. The older ones have walked home from the subway (the U-Bahn) to our flat and to the library and home again. They know the way from the U-Bahn station to their school and can name the 3 different trains we take to get there. (It will be simpler once we move to our permanent place.) Jack is asking to pay the cashier at the grocery story. Isaac and Stephen asked if they could go home on the U-Bahn by themselves today. I told them I was sure they could, but I wasn’t quite ready for that yet and it would give me “Gran nervousness” which made them laugh. And I know that just as there have been bumps and bruises in our beginning here, their stretching into new things will sometimes bring difficulty. But this is good growing.