A Special Sunday
This will never happen again in our lifetime. Our anniversary landed on Easter Sunday. (2160 is the next time, in case you’re curious or wanted to try to hang around for it. I recommend formaldehyde or time travel). So, we made an effort to commemorate this special week. We left San José to continue our search for a permanent place to live and take advantage of our friends’, Curtis and Michelle’s, empty house (they were working near the Panama border with orphanages and school children) and get some more work done on our studies in a quiet place outside the city. While the search turned out to be rather unsuccessful for much of the week, we met some fascinating people along the way, including 3 “raw-foods-only” eaters from California. We enjoyed a hours of conversation with them, ending in a delightful dinner down by the beach at the local vegetarian hot spot (“Hi Barry, Jerry and Kirk,” if you’re reading!).
By the time Sunday arrived, we noticed that we had not yet seen one Easter bunny or Easter grass or even any pastel colored decorations. Perhaps this is because of Costa Rica’s staunch recognition of Easter as a religious church holiday! In fact, it is such a serious time of remembrance that most businesses close for a good part of the week, so one has to make special provision to have everything you need for the truly “holy-days” (Semana Santa). Even though not everyone seemed to be very clear on the reason for celebrating, it was still refreshing to not get lost in the muddied waters of painting eggs, Cadbury chocolate and new pink dresses.
In our search for a home, we had heard about a “surf church” that we wanted to visit. It turned out they just recently merged with a bilingual church so we ventured there on Sunday morning. Every word that was spoken or sung in the service was given in both languages and the small congregation was about 50/50 locals and gringos. On a day our hearts burned to worship and longed to express ourselves in our first language, God had led us to one of the only places in the area where we would be able to do that! It was a unique and inexplicable gift from our Creator. Ironically, our first and only sighting of Easter bunnies was there, as well. : )
We met up with some new friends Sarah and Jason for lunch to hear about how we could get involved in some work they are doing in the area. And afterwards, Joel and I headed down to the beach to celebrate our wedding which, of course, had also occurred on the beach 6 years ago. As hopeless romantics, every year on our anniversary we take a picture together at sunset (the time we were married), no matter where we are. One year, we had to slip a photo (without flash) during a meeting in Mexico, and last year, we popped into a home improvement store and got caught up talking so we ending up taking the photo with the toilets in the plumbing section! But this year, we were actually in a picture-worthy location!
Joel surfed for a few minutes, and while I was enjoying the view from the beach, I looked down and saw not one, but three pieces of sea glass! We have quite a collection going, so I grabbed them excitedly and then began to see the smooth and opaque glass everywhere! When Joel caught a wave back in, we had a contest (6 years and still competitive!) to see who could collect the most. I had 98 in my little tuna can when I finished, so I think we probably had over 200 pieces!
(Joel appointed himself as the official judge to count every piece of sea glass and besides, I don’t have that kind of patience.)
The awesome thing, though, about celebrating our anniversary on Easter was that I realized that were it not for the sacrificial love of Jesus, going to the point of giving up his own life for me, I wouldn’t have any example of how to really demonstrate love to Joel. And it’s because I see Jesus’ example that I easily see that my “sacrifices,” those things I give up to help Joel do something, those are nothing compared with what Jesus gave up for me. So, I have a long ways to go before I can say I’m truly “imitating” his example! My little inconveniences can hardly be called “sacrifices.” Yet, he is the one who give me the strength to give when I feel exhausted or frustrated and his love never fails me.
It is because of him that we are.
And it is because of his love, that we love.
What an incredible day to celebrate sacrificial undeserved love.