Who Robbed My Joy?

Last week my husband and I left our home near Sacramento, CA and drove to LAX (a mere 7 hour drive), to board a non-stop flight to San Jose, Costa Rica.  We have been planning this trip for months.  I have always had some amount of discomfort with the cold weather in the “winter” months and so, now that the kids are grown and mostly out of the house, we decided to take the risk to spend most of the month of February in a warmer climate.  Some friends of ours offered to let us stay in their little “tico” just outside of Manual Antonio National Park on the Pacific side of Costa Rica.  So, here I am in my tank top, shorts and flip flops looking out over the crystal blue patio-side pool out onto the Pacific Ocean where a small yacht is lazily moored in the bay outside the “nacionale parq”.  

Why so downcast, oh my soul?  So, why is it that when we first arrived at this little spot of paradise I felt so undone?  Why was I anxious and on edge?  Why was I trying to control every little thing that my dear husband was doing?  We had been staying in the city of San Jose in Costa Rica just a couple of days where my husband, Paul was able to meet up with some of his employees who are based here in this peaceful and friendly little country.  “Fran” drove us around the city excitedly pointing out all the points of interest in the city before we enjoyed a wonderful French dinner on a patio under the stars---in February!  We met the other 3 employees who were no older than our own adult children and out of the 4, 3 were believers in Christ. The conversation was delightful, engaging and uplifting for all of us. There is something about meeting up with other believers around the world who know the same Lord and Savior, Jesus as I do!  

The 5 hour driving trip over the green covered mountain was slow but lovely….many farms below the steep ancient volcano-like cones  were now drenched with a canopy of lush green and most likely inhabited by a few monkeys, sloth, iguanas and parritas (parrots in the wild).  We had been here before 3 years ago on a 2 week vacation and now I remembered the beginning feelings of anxiousness brought on by the unfamiliar upcoming “new digs”.   We arrived without incident after creeping along behind many delivery trucks on the only road between San Jose and Quepos.  The view from the ”tico” was breathtaking!  Still, my anxiety would not leave me.  I prayed, I quoted scripture to myself and I talked to Paul about this un-rest.  What is the thing that robs me of my ability to enjoy this new dwelling place? What is it that steels me of the ability to enjoy the adventure? What grips my mind and heart that tears away all sense of joy in the moment?

I have tried not to anticipate with too many expectations, because I know that that can wreak havoc on a peaceful and enjoyable adventure.  But try as I may, here I was in angst over being somewhere new and different.  The view was awesome…there were a few rough edges around the house (a broken light bulb, a broken faucet, no hot water at the sink and oh yes, those teeny tiny little ants on all the counters).  Broken and beautiful I tried to ease my foggy mind.

After a fitful night’s sleep and a morning phone call to one of my clients, I felt a little better.  I unpacked and put a few things in their place.  We took a walk into the little town of Quepos and found the farmer’s market on the bay wall.  The people were friendly and were willing to engage in my limited Spanish.  We bought fresh coconut and I sipped on the refreshing cool liquid that calmed my tummy and surprisingly my mind too.  Little by little after about 3 days my mind and heart were once again at rest.  I reflected on this and talked it over with my very patient husband of 28 years.  I needed some familiar anchors in my physical space.  A cup filled with picked flowers, an English speaking couple who invited us to church on the beach next week, my own pillow from home to lay my head on at night and a daily rhythm of a cup a water and a walk in the morning. I also began reading His Word (the Holy Bible) and praying for my family and friends.  All followed by a quick swim and a phone call with a client (thank the Lord for Skype and good internet).  Now, four days into our adventure, I was able to navigate walking to the little town of Quepos on my own while Paul was working.  I bought a light bulb from a total Spanish speaking vendor and I understood most of the conversation!  I walked back up “the hill” that my friend said would “kick my b__t!” –and it did – I was greeted by two little monkeys in a palm tree (which my friend said were not in their neighborhood- but they were! Next, I took a dive into the cool crystal blue pool before beginning my work for the day.

God is good and I know this to be true.  When my joy is lapsing, I know that I can still be assured of this even if my feelings are betraying me.   I hope to continue to share thoughts and musings on living a new life in Christ, still a bit broken AND also redeemed.  Relationships are the essence of our life - our relationship with Christ and our relationships with each other.  I think as Christians we all would agree that we “know” God loves us and, once we are “saved” - made righteous by the blood that was shed for us by Jesus on the Cross- that we are redeemed to a “new life” in Him! (Romans 6:4) Still, living that out in our daily life with the people around us can be challenging.  Our Joy is consistently challenged by a side-ways comment from a spouse or a friend, the dis-obedience of a child (our child), or the even the relocation to an unfamiliar and supposed paradise spot.    

I am hoping that these “reflections” will prompt you to reflect for yourself, ask a deeper question and draw closer to the Love that only God can provide. My mission statement for life is to:

“Encourage, Inspire and Equip others to know who they are uniquely created to be, in order that they might fully know the love of God and love others.”

May you know that you are fully loved today and may your Joy be FULL!