Two months ago today we returned from Costa Rica, weary from travel but thrilled to be back in “our” place – in our home, our neighborhood, our town, nearby our church, thanks be to God. When Quinn learned the significance of this day he threw his arms in the air and shouted, “Hooray!” Yup, home is good.
But so is travel. This trip changed us. A few weeks ago, and coincidentally on the same day, both kids individually confessed that they feel different, more mature, and attributed the change to having lived out of the country for two months. Of course we had hoped this would happen but we wouldn’t have been surprised if it had taken them years to admit it.
The grown-ups have talked a lot about the difference. We are conscious of wanting to go slower, of intentionally driving slower and spending at least a few minutes here and there doing nothing, just being. (Siv cleaned the tortoise cage and spent time watching the tortoise walk around the grass – that’s “nothing” for ya!). We are more conscious than ever of the frenzied pace of Lamorinda life and the struggle of trying to resist being sucked into the whirlwind. We haven’t yet hung a clothesline (we will, eventually), but we’re reading more and watching less TV; we’ve been hiking on our days off and shopping as often as possible at the farmers’ market. We’re attempting to use what we have and not give in to the temptation to buy what we want. Our goal is to prioritize relationships.
A few weeks ago Dave and Siv shared with one of the adult classes at church about the first phrase of the Apostles’ Creed:
I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.
A simple statement that packs a wallop.
I believe in: We believe in, not about. It’s easy to believe things about God. It’s life-changing to believe in God.
God = Father: God is not an impersonal diety, but Someone with whom we can have a loving relationship. He is our Father. We are His children. With Jesus we pray, “Our Father…”
God = Almighty: Our loving Father knows the number of hairs on our heads. He is all-powerful and nothing happens without His knowledge. We may not always understand Him, but we can trust Him.
God = Source of Everything: As the Creator, it’s all His. He’s put His “maker’s mark” everywhere and we can get a good sense of His character as we stop to notice this great big gorgeous world.
As a family, we talked about our trip to Costa Rica as a “God Treasure Hunt.” We went looking for God in His creation, in the opportunities He presented, with people who served in His name; it wasn’t just a long vacation but an opportunity to seek God in new ways in a new place.
As we prepared for the talk we gave that morning, three phrases bounced around in Siv’s mind:
The glory of God is the human being fully alive. –Irenaus of Lyon
The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. –Westminster Shorter Catechism
Pura Vida – Costa Rica’s unofficial motto
In Costa Rica we experienced a heightened sense of reality, of life, because we received it as a gift direct from God’s hands, and a gift in which we expected that He wanted to show up and show us new things.
The challenge now is to come back to “normal” life and to receive each day as that gift, to always be looking for God, to honor the Father-child relationship He wants to have with us, the Almighty power He holds and displays, and to be good stewards of His creation. To God be the glory, great things He has done!