Letting Go, Making Jaco Home
Sitting in this cafe, here in Jaco, a quaint surf town nestled on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, people are bustling West toward the beach.
Despite the Jack Johnson playing behind me, this beach town certainly feels busy to an overwhelmed, mountain-loving dude. It’s not home yet, and speaking of home, I miss it.
In the week before my arrival here, as I prepared to leave home, a perpetually growing list of people to see and things to pack or do formed in journals, on napkins at my table, or upon any willing item which might receive some ink to alleviate the whirlwind of ideas in my brain.
Each day closer to April seventh featured deeper and tougher goodbyes. I ran busily from meeting to meeting to stores to home, attempting to wrap up and pack up my life in 4 bags. Still, I fought to keep my identity locked in on Christ. In one week, I’d be in a foreign land and I knew I’d need true rest, not simply a physical rest after accomplishing things. Nonetheless, with so much to do and so many friends and supporters to see, I let my excitement for this mission carry me. I grew wearier by the hour, elevating and idolizing my productivity.
As exciting and emotional as all these final meetings were, they quickly became burdensome. Why didn’t I listen to all my admonitions that this exhaustion was too much? “No time to be tired, I gotta pack,” I thought, as I blasted the music a little louder on the way to a supporter’s house!
Now, in this cafe with time to breath, I remove the work and tasks blocking access to the emotions. The to-do list aside, right now, my only goal is to listen attentively.
Little problems call for my attention, “where will I find that blender…and oh, what was…yes, soap—must find soap!”
And what seems like a day later, I let the hundreds of issues go; surely, they’ll be there when I return. Over time, my emotions, like an air pocket exposed deep down below the roaring waves, bubble up to the surface.
Free from the pressure of doing, emotions race to the surface, bursting, and releasing the deep, quiet inner place. Now, I see cravings for my caring, good friends who ran errands while I crammed shoes into my bags just hours before departure. Calling to be noticed is a yearning for dinner at Elsie’s Plate & Pie where we enjoyed real confession—no more acting like we’re fine. And it’s clear how much sweeter it is to wake up in a supporter’s home to the sound of a crying baby than my new neighbor’s clucking rooster.
For the second time in my life, it strikes me that leaving home is hard. Its a sacrifice. And it’s okay. More than that, it’s good.
Although fear and shame want to say these aches are reminders of my foolishness to leave home, I argue that these memories are reminders of God’s love for me. Yes, for in what I leave behind I see the proof of how God heals my heart. Real tender, accepting friendships take the place of or restore belittling, shame-filled ones of old. I am grateful these types of relationships are my present and future. Thus, I begin to let go of home.
So then, on this mission in Jaco, I wonder: to what shall I grab hold? Clinging to another goal is no answer. Once I got on the flight to Costa Rica, panic and doubts crashed over me. When the goal was accomplished—raise most of the money and go by beginning of April—my resolve went with it. With nothing left to do, no wonder the fear and shame told me I was dumb to leave good things. So, again, what is my purpose here?
Perhaps, my purpose will be walking with God, facing everything as an opportunity to know Him and His tender, unfailing kindness. Walking together with God facing daunting problems, my role is simple.
- Admit as I let go of him (confess) to chase fleeting happiness at the end of a job well done.
- I ask him to take me back, knowing I can’t close this gap (repentance).
- As He runs to me, I return to His arms finding rest (reconciliation) in the midst of the problems.
Together again, we will face the problems, and I will learn how to be loved and love like Him. Then, dirty and tired from the day’s work, sunset behind us, right next to my God, we will walk toward The Edge. There I’ll share stories, enjoying honesty, and growing intimately with my God and new friends, calling this place in Jaco my home.