Friday, July 08, 2011

Getting the Czech Experience

Week One: Journey to and around Policka

More pictures from my travels with friends in the Czech Republic! Streets new and old, friends new and old, my summer of memories continues to remind me of where I've been and those who have accompanied me along the way.
My friends have been helping me practice my Czech language and Czech ways of life, first and foremost walking a "bit further" than I was used to doing in Atlanta. The Bartoš family was kind enough to take me to the Castle Karlstein, which I had planned to go to many times, but ended up canceling because I thought the walking would be a bit far from the train station. Boy was I right.
This is a shot already a "bit" up the hill from the parking lot, and the train station is about another half a mile down the road from there. I didn't count how far the castle was uphill, but it was definitely a "kousek" or as we joke, just a short piece, which always means quite a bit further in the American understanding rather than the Czech understanding. But please do not misunderstand this to be complaining, I'm just explaining how it was been. As you look through the album you will see how the walk is worth the view! This also explains why I dared to ask my friends Magda and Madla to walk with me from Teleci to Kamenec. I remembered it to be merely a "kousek" and it was such, it's just that my Atlanta legs needed to be reminded of the strength needed to walk through the hills of Vysočina(the Czech Highlands).
As I approach these physical challenges, I'm reminded of how many times I met my match here in the Czech Republic, how many times I felt like I couldn't go any further and found myself carrying on to the finish. I felt like I discovered my own boundaries and surpassed them time and time again. I think this part of the trip has been incredibly valuable at this point in my life journey. Suddenly it is the reminder that what we choose to do is not always on the basis of opportunity but also the basis of faith and fear. When we fear we cannot accomplish something we let it go, or when we fear those who pressure us, we abide by their desires rather than our own.
I have been reminded of two difficult lessons I've learned since I first arrived in the Czech Republic. While I was here, I learned to listen to people again. I couldn't speak so clearly, so I mostly listened and through that I learned a lot about life, people, God, and really everything. I found that I listened differently when I sought understanding over information or verification. While I was in seminary, I feel like I learned to listen to myself. I learned to trust the inner connection I feel with God and to trust God to work through the blessings in my life. Over the last several months, I feel like I have been learning again to listen to God. During my last semester of seminary, I feel in love with the Bible again, as each of my classes seemed to draw me into the Living Word where God continues to bring a new message again and again throughout our history. This new openness also heightened my awareness to the presence of God with me while reading and seeking. So even here in special moments with friends and in the woods, I have been listening for God's voice and presence. It seems that as I have been reestablishing my Czech legs, God has also been strengthening my legs of faith, preparing me for the "kousek" ahead. I've been learning to speak and walk and to listen and sit. Even these familiar shoes and dirty feet are a reminder that God has been with me at every step. These new legs of faith will withstand the changing of shoes and the changing of the terrain, but I'll remember again to keep listening for God as I continue in my training.

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