Saturday, September 13, 2014

Beautiful


For the first time since I've been back from Vienna, I recently pulled out the notebook I kept while I was there.  Inside of it are countless recordings from professors on dream analysis, existentialism, and the general inner workings of Freudian psychoanalysis.  Mingled frequently within the academic jottings, however, were my own written prayers and pleas to God for understanding and deliverance.  I longed for insight into my purpose in being there, but more than that I often yearned to return home.  I missed my husband and son, and to put it simply, I was homesick before I ever even left home.  Since I've been back, though, I've had ample time to reflect on my time there and it now makes me smile.  I can still see Dimitri, a tiny Chihuahua that greeted me most mornings down in the breakfast hall.  I also remember finding immense comfort from the pages of my Bible while I nibbled on small, "schokolade" peppermint patties.  The two just seemed to go hand in hand.  Literally.  I can still smell the inside of St. Stephen's Cathedral, a place where all of my worries seemed washed away the minute I entered the magnificent structure. It's also unlikely that I'll ever forget the taste of the best vegan pizza I've ever had from a small pizzeria just down the street from my hotel. Reflection on these things continues to bring me immeasurable joy, but they are even more cherished because of the challenges and hardships I endured in order to experience them.  For me, it was an arduous journey that relentlessly tested the limits of my mental, physical, and spiritual strength.  I walked on foot for many long distances, stepping on glass along the way. I traversed bumpy roads to stand atop Am Himmel, and I endured nearly three weeks of intense sleep deprivation.  I got lost the first night there and I could scarcely converse with my family back home throughout my stay.  The dialogues were brief and the distance of time and space wide. In the city, I didn't speak the language, nor walk the pace.  I slept without air conditioning and ate what was available, and as I look back on it all now, it was in one word - beautiful.