Rediscovering Relationships in Costa Rica and Beyond
by Ashley Labella| AIM Passport Short-Term Missionary | Rediscovering Relationships
“When you are in the final days of your life, what will you want? Will you hug that college degree in the walnut frame? Will you be asked to be taken to the garage so you can sit in your car? Will you find comfort in rereading your financial statement? Of course not. What will matter most then are people. If relationships will matter most then. Shouldn’t they matter most now?” -Max Lucado
My team and I are quickly rolling past our half way point here with Oceans Edge in Jacó. In this time we have been blessed with the opportunity to “step back into reality”, away from distraction, overwhelming busyness and other typical comforts of home. We are loving and growing in a culture where relationships take reign as most important again.
We are all incredibly grateful to be living and learning in such connection, knowing that it is not always the easiest to attain in our home cultures, where we are not living constantly with 17 other human beings. Because of these living conditions, we must shake ourselves awake daily, to be in a constant state of “others-focused” awareness. But wow, what a blessing that is. To have a reminder every single morning as you wake up next to five others, that relationships are the priority, not just on the mission field, but always.
Time Spent Rediscovering Relationships
Time spent out in the community has offered us this same reminder, as we attempt broken Spanglish conversations with locals, watching their eyes light up with authentic joy, all just because we remembered their name… and better yet, how to pronounce it.
Our time spent with the locals reminds us of how painfully easy it is to show someone how deeply loved they are. Whether that means buying a sun-soaked security guard a cold soda or sitting next to a homeless woman to remind her that she is seen.
Whether on our property as a team or out in the community, we are learning to fall in love with people again, and are being blessed with the simple, yet fulfilling feeling of joy that comes as a result.
Our ministry base, Oceans Edge has been challenging us in our relationship-focused service, knowing that regardless of where we are living, whether on a mission trip or at home, we all face the same temptation: to be complacent and comfortable. Oceans Edge, while they teach us the value in resting, also teaches the danger in growing accustomed.
Being accustomed can appear as small, seemingly unharmful changes, but that can form patterns that are lasting and hard to break. Once tear-filled, grateful prayers can slowly become routine rituals to check off and get done. Relationships get put on the back burner simply because they can..because they have no pressing deadline. Because they can always be pushed off to later. We over time, suddenly have “no time” to marvel anymore, becoming suddenly unimpressed by the bright red and orange hued sunset right beyond our window shade.
So Accustomed That We Forget How Extremely Temporary Life Is
This week, to remind us of this temporary and beautiful life in front of us, Oceans Edge posed several questions to us all, that are beneficial to everyone, regardless of their walk of life. The questions are designed to help us look right at the face of time, to envision the day when that time runs out, and to then return back to our current lives with the most powerful intention to live. Almost as if we had already seen our entire life pass before our eyes and faced each of the potential regrets stuck on our hearts.
The questions posed were:
- What legacy do you want to leave on that last day? What do you want others to speak of you?
- Imagine it was your last day. What would you advise your current self now of?
- What do you need to prioritize in order to live out that advise to your current self? What goals can you set to get there?
- Are there any excuses you find yourself making that are preventing you from prioritizing and living out that call? Combat those excuses with truth.
Now Live It Out
Live in such a way that on that hard-to-imagine last day, there is not one regret left weighing our hearts. Not one relationship left unreached. Not one “I love you” or “Thank you” gone unsaid.
“If relationships will matter most then, shouldn’t they matter most now?” Rediscovering Relationships starts today.