‘We’re fine, we have snacks, we’re all happy and at peace with each-other’ were Ruth’s words as we set off down a single track path. We were out in the woods above our little town for the first time, overly simplistic walking map in hand.
Thirty seconds later we were singing a different tune, as the trail deteriorated and pushing Lucie along in our off-road buggy over the rocky terrain became a great challenge.
‘How long will this go on for? Am I sure this is in the right direction?’, I asked myself. It had been my decision to leave the large trail, which was going away from home, for this lesser track heading towards home. ‘Should we turn around?’ I left the three and went running down the track, hoping I’d come out at a road. The trail got worse. ‘I think we should go back. Ahh, just a little farther…’ I kept on running, and then I saw a road! An hour later we were back in the car, tired but happy and at peace with each other.
Moments of crisis are very telling, aren’t they? They reveal aspects of our character we’d prefer left buried. But their uncovering is truly for our own good. Wisdom asks, ‘What can I learn from my reaction?’
It’s been wonderful to finally get out and explore the area we’re living in more, now that the sun is out! We’ve been enjoying temperatures into the mid 20’s, and everything is growing around us. Cherries are out, which seems early to me, but then again we are near the Med! It is a beautiful place, and we are enjoying discovering hidden treasures when we get a chance to go out together on weekends. Here are a few shots of the kids enjoying being out too.
What a week it’s been for all of us, moving to our new home in the south of France!
Micah had a split birthday in two countries, celebrating with Nanny and Granddad in Oxford before having a French cake party in Bourg three days later. A tummy bug made for a couple rough nights, but thankfully is now long passed.
We all had to get used to our new surroundings – having an apartment within an 18th century former hotel, with all the quirks and delights that brings! Micah’s had all the exercise he needs and more climbing the endless stairs. We’ve taken advantage of arriving during a school holiday to explore the small old town we’re in, where we can walk virtually everywhere easily. We found a lovely little mums and toddlers drop-in just around the corner, which will be a great way to meet people and practice our French! We’ve been encouraged to get out and about as much as we can, so we’ve been looking into clubs we can join.
It’s certainly been a stretch so far, not only needing to meet new people, make new friends, get used to a new country in a small town, but all in a new language as well! One day at a time, we’re learning to celebrate our small victories.
The last 10 days we have felt somewhat like Tom Hanks’ character in the film ‘The Terminal’, stuck in-between destinations. Thankfully we’ve not been physically stuck at an airport all this time – that’s a relief! But we have left Oxford mentally and emotionally, having had a very tearful goodbye to many of our friends a week and a half ago that left us simultaneously incredibly grateful for the relational richness we’ve enjoyed here, and pained at needing to leave it all behind. Having done this, it’s been very odd to not be able to leave due to a tardy visa.
What to do?
My first reaction is to do everything within my power to change the situation – incessant phone calls, emails, google searches. Thankfully it didn’t take more than a couple stress-filled days to realize the situation was totally beyond my influence or control.
Make the most of the time – working, making first attempts at language learning, making mental note of lessons to learn, listening to good music, enjoying the extra time with family and bonus visits with friends.
Oh, and pray?
Our brilliant sending team organised a day of prayer on our behalf, for this past Tuesday, fasting lunch. Just past noon I noticed a new email, from the embassy, stating my visa had just been issued. Coincidence? I think God was deliberately making the message as clear as possible lest I miss it: our aims are not accomplished by striving and human effort, but by trusting in Him, and depending on others. I hope I’ve properly learnt that one now, but I suspect there will be more reminders to come.
On y va!
Wacky and wonderful photos of our going away party are now online here! Huge thanks to Kim and Chatelle for their massive effort.
South Africa and Burundi, March – May 2010