The Language Labyrinth

Last weekend we visited a small castle outside of Prague. The weather was stunning - Spring in all her glory. Inside the grounds were a series of mazes - a light maze, a hedge maze, one made from moss, another made from stone.

Here you can see Anika running through the hedge maze, full of joy! As I watched her I thought about how I would tackle the maze. There would probably be stress at every corner, trying to decide which way to turn, knowing the goal was the fountain within. I would be able to see the fountain but worry about the quickest way there. Anika on the other hand ran through without a care! She loved the winding paths and slipped in and out of the maze with ease. She finally did make it to the fountain and she was delighted! People often ask us how our language study is going and then they ask us about Anika, often commenting how easy and seamless it will be for her. It is a humbling realisation to make, yet also one of deep wonder. It really is amazing (a-maze-ing ha!) how language is learned at a young age! But as I reflect upon the labyrinth, both at the castle and the seeming labyrinth of learning Czech - our approaches are similar. I can see the fountain, fluency and communicability! Yet we are a lot more measured at the process, learning slowly, worrying about each 'corner' - whether that be vocabulary, declensions, sentence structure or phraseology. Anika on the other hand, as she attends školka, rides the trams into the city or attends church - just runs through everything with such joy and wonder. There are no worries, she'll get to the fountain one day, and in the mean time she is loving the winding paths, the sun shining on her back and her parents admiring the freedom and joy she exudes with each step. Truly we know that this is because there are prayers from all corners of the globe that cover both her and us. It is a relieving and joyous thing as a parent to be able to say that for now, our kid is doing great. Praise God for his mercy in this! Praise God for the flexibility of children!

It's so fun to watch and listen to Anika as she picks up Czech. She can distinguish between the two languages and communicates well with her friends. She loves to count, say the colours, she knows flowers, animals and all the important phrases like 'I need to go to the bathroom!' and 'Look!'. She's a delight in our family and always keeps us smiling! We are so thankful for God's blessing through Anika. Thankfully the labyrinth analogy breaks down in light of Christ. Though the process feels like navigating a maze, the ultimate goal and the way we get there is directed by a sovereign God. Fluency will come. It is a refining and endurance-training process. There are spiritual, intellectual and emotional muscles being exercised that haven't been used in a long time! But the Lord has us here for great reason. And we are moved by the lack of light in this place, so we keep plodding through the language labyrinth, keeping our eyes on the ultimate goal - Christ.