Loving Where We Are
I have been thinking a lot recently about life in Edinburgh. Living overseas there are always things to complain about (usually because you are unfamiliar with the way things work). When we lived in Colombia, the differences were obvious (not the least of which was that everyone spoke a different language). Here in Edinburgh, it is the 1,000 little things that are different. You can't quite put your finger on all of them, and that can often make living here just slightly more frustrating.
Yet, in all of this, Taryn and I regularly look around and are so thankful and happy for this opportunity. The funny thing is, when we think about it, it can be hard to give the tangible reasons why we are thankful for living here specifically. I thought I would give a quick list of five reasons we love living here, and why we are thankful for the opportunity.
1. Living in Edinburgh has better connected us to our history.
Since we moved here, Taryn has been able to get around the city and see the sites. She always comes back with a story about a place or a person. Living here we have come to appreciate the history of the presbyterian tradition. Men and women in the past bled and died to preserve this tradition. The city of Edinburgh is full of that history and living here has been an opportunity to better connect with it. There are moments when the work before me is too much. Living in Edinburgh, I can step outside of my study space and immediately be confronted with the truth that the church is bigger than me and my research. There are men and women who have come before me, and there will be men and women who will come after me. That realization both humbles and motivates me to continue in my current work.
2. Working at New College has given me a better appreciation for the wider church and academic community.
Honestly, I don't know if I have ever been pushed in so many different areas in my life. Working alongside people from a variety of theological traditions has helped me to grow in my ability to nuance theological differences. It has caused me to slow down in dogmatic claims. And it has helped to understand better what Herman Bavinck meant said when speaking of America: "Calvinism, after all, is not the only truth!" In the same breath, my interactions with people have further grounded me in my own tradition. My time here has also opened me up to the wider academic community. It has and continues to refine my thoughts and my writing. The larger community of academics with which I interact daily, challenges my presuppositions, forces me to refine my thinking, and encourages me when I do not believe I am up for the task.
3. Living here has allowed our family to make friends from all over the world.
It is truly amazing how many people with whom we have connected in just a few months. We have forged friendships with people that run deep and for whom we care deeply. This has happened in the school, the church, and wider community. Coming here we are meeting people that we would have never met in any other context. For our friends from the school, there is the shared experience of working on a PhD. For our friends from church, there is the shared community. We have loved exchanging our stories. Our Scottish friends have helped us to understand Scotland and the UK better. We have time with Americans where we can talk about home. We have time with Australians when Taryn can talk about home. One of the great joys of living here is making new friends.
4. We have grown closer as a family.
There is something about moving where you hunker down as a family; moving internationally is even more. When I am not at work, I am home. It means that we are together more - except on the rare occasion when I may need to attend evening lectures, but there aren't many extra activities that I need to go to. This has all worked to allow us to have more time together. There are few things that I am more thankful for than the time I have been able to spend with my family here.
5. We are growing closer to God.
When I say there are few things that I am more thankful for, this is probably the foremost thing. Our time here in Edinburgh has not only drawn us closer together as a family but closer to God. Part of this is that we know more deeply the truth that we are utterly dependent on him to sustain us day in and day out. We rely on his good gifts, given through those who support us, to continue down this path. That feeling of utter dependence has become more pronounced as I study. I find that my studies regularly push me to the end of myself and to utter reliance upon God. Coming home and interacting with Taryn and Calvin does the same. Our time here has drawn us together, but I am convinced it has drawn us together because it has pushed us closer to God.
As I close, I want to say that living here I have realized even more how thankful I am for each of you who take the time to read this blog. It is humbling to have people out there that read this blog weekly. It is humbling to have people who regularly give of their money to support us. Thank you for your constant care of our family. Living here has made us realize just how loved we are by our community back home and those further afield. .