About a month ago I shared a myriad of moments in the middle of my time in Costa Rica.
It was a list of sorts, bursts of beauty, stops along the way of a heavy and eventful course.
I’m amazed to say I am now back on American soil, breathing in the humid air of Miami held up in a hotel because I missed one of my connecting flights on my voyage back to Oregon.
I took almost two weeks off from posting and you can believe the moments are piled up within… Breaking forth from experiences embedded within my recent memories… Feelings filling me, consuming me, changing me…
It’s hard to know where they begin and end, almost every night difficult to go to sleep because experiences so recent and full continue to knock on my active and occupied heart.
The Spirit of adventure paired with the realities that every human finds themselves up against when blessings are met with hardships, victories paired with despair, rest matched with burdens…
Again I found myself in a mix of contrasts as my last two weeks in Costa Rica ended on their rich coast in the province of Guanacaste.
My first week was a jumble of classes, ocean ventures, beach town exploration and continued relationships.
I found myself in the sea one moment and in the next continuing my studies in Spanish grammar, culture and literature throughout the day.
I fell deeper in love with my group, getting deeper into their hearts and living in a closer quarters, little villas scattered within what felt like a compound all of our own.
Many moments felt surreal as I found myself reflecting on my time in the jungle while I was in a land that looked nothing like I had experienced my first month in Costa Rica. The fact that I was having class quite literally on the beach, in a hotel… It didn’t always add up.
But still I knew the right attitude is always thankfulness. And I lived in a state of wonder as I was engulfed in a new beauty with each new day.
The second week…
And I wasn’t ready…
I was taken down by ear infections, nasal infections, dehydration, vertigo… Waking up in the middle of the night with the world spinning in circles… Trapping myself in a dark room for 4+ days.
Day 6 the doctor gave me a choice. He knew my sickness was aggressive, and he felt that he didn’t have the medicine or the accurate diagnosis to treat me correctly.
He wanted to fly me to a hospital 6 hours away.
And I just wept.
I cried and I cried. I called my parents. They loved me from afar but in the end knew the decision had to be my own.
And I couldn’t go. I didn’t go. I was too afraid. I asked the doctor to do what he could with what he had.
And he did.
It sounds dramatic, I know.
And maybe you’re thinking…
TOO MUCH INFORMATION.
And I understand that! I get that! I might actually agree with you…
But there is something I know that God has planted within me… Something He’s told me for a while now… That if I want to tell stories…
I have to be willing to tell the whole story.
And the beauty is… I got better. I’m okay. I’m not 100%, but I’m getting healthy, and I know that I’m whole.
What’s difficult is the “tough” things in this life don’t end. The situations that are simply unavoidable can’t be erased on this earth.
I missed my flight today, I lost my dinner that I paid way too much money for on a bus, I waited in line for an hour at the airport only to find out it was the wrong line when I finally got to the front…
But I also met beautiful people.
And I got a new flight, bought another dinner, found a new line...
I’ve realize that these tough moments, experiences, and encounters can be thought of in one or two ways:
Adventures or storms.
Of course, there are circumstances, situations and events that we can name and call out and identify as evil, unfortunate, and simply ungodly.
But then there are others, the ones that we know “won’t kill us but will make us stronger”. Moments that we know, more than likely, wouldn’t have been the Lord’s original intent, design, or plan but still He is able to work out a glimmer of promise, an opportunity for growth, a transforming redemption.
Potential for ashes to become beauty, for the Lord to come and the Spirit to enter in and change the very nature and atmosphere of what is currently unfolding.
This is where I have found myself… In many moments like these.
Ones that the world would look on and be bothered, frustrated, and targeted.
And I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel those emotions when I let my flesh begin to flair, when I want to curse instead of praise, when I see the temporary instead of the eternal.
But, I’ve found, when we choose to live in surrender and trust… These storms, these raging seas, they must listen to the Voice inside that is waiting to speak forth and unleash the authority and power of the Spirit when released over our momentary afflictions.
And that’s when the whole story is worth telling.
When we know who has the victory.
That is what I have realized is worth claiming before all men… Before anyone… Before each person who chooses to read the words I write. And the confidence to do so, to be His mouthpiece, to proclaim the Truth is from the very source that enables courage in the midst of every beginning, middle and end I will ever encounter… Every story that I will continue to share.