Just a ten-minute walk from our house is the Adriatic Sea. We often spend Sabbath evenings there as a family. Since we are currently without a car, we take hidden pathways through the woods, past homes, and in between buildings. Doing this cuts 15 minutes from our walk, bringing us to the hustle and bustle of the sea-front where most locals and tourists come to enjoy coffee and conversation.
We smile as often as we can and greet everyone with “Dobre Dan!” [“Good day!“].
When we get to our usual spot, my children always collect as many rocks as possible. There are millions of these river stones that seem to intrigue my children. We pick them up and skip them across the water to discover how many times we can get them to skip. But if we find a truly lovely stone, we keep it. They stuff them into our backpacks and pockets, just as they did back home.
As we looked forward to the day we would move here, we worried that we would lose ourselves and our culture as a family. Culture shock is real, and we still experience it from time to time. Some have described moving to a new country as chipping away from one’s self. But I do not see it that way. Instead of taking something away from us, this new culture continues to increase our knowledge, understanding and perceptions of the world around us and also of our family and our place as God’s children.
We know that when it is time to go home, we will not be the same people. I explained this to a friend before we left, and he jokingly said, “Well, it was nice knowing you.” But it will not be because something has been chipped away. Rather, it will be because a new chapter has been written by the Author, our God, into the book of our journey.
As my children collect rocks, so are we collecting memories and new experiences, all for the glory of God. This is our family’s joy in the journey.