Keeping the Faith in Costa Rica

Keeping the Faith in Costa Rica

I arrived in Costa Rica alone just after 9:30 p.m.  Having no idea where I was going, I followed the crowd and stepped out into the warm night to a mass of people, all holding up signs with different names or destinations.  I scanned the crowd nervously. Finally, my eyes finally landed on a tiny man holding up a sign that read “Pura Vida.”

That was me. My initial reaction was relief.  But then of course, doubt had to step in. Couldn’t any random person make a sign that read “Pura Vida?”

“Hi,” I said.  “Thank you for picking me up.”

“No Ingles,” he responded.

Right. 

I followed behind him, into a parking garage. I could feel my heart-rate going up. Where was he taking me? If I was going to be an international traveler, I was going to have to get it together.

I had recently read a book by author and spiritual guide, Gordana Biernat, that said:  In every situation, choose the best possible perspective. Okay, I thought. Let’s try that. I chose the fact that this man was not leading me to a dark corner, but safely to my destination.

In every situation, choose the best possible perspective.

He did.

When I arrived through a locked gate, just after 10 o’clock, a man behind the reception desk handed me a key and said that another non-English speaking man would be walking me to my room. He, personally, was leaving and locking up for the night but he’d see me in the morning. “What if I have a question?” I asked.

“You won’t,” he returned, smiling.

Right.

I swallowed hard. It was dark and I followed my new leader down one sidewalk, then another. We wound our way down twisted paths through lush bushes and greenery with only his tiny flashlight to light the way. I stepped carefully, making sure to check my footing. It was so quiet, not another human being in sight. After a few moments, he pointed his flashlight to a smaller path that led down a hill, and motioned for me to go first.

Why!? My internal alarm was sounding again.

At some point in our lives, we are going to have to learn to give up control, to surrender to our circumstances and trust that things will work out the way they were meant to.

Shhh, I told it. Breathe. Take a step. Not because he wants you to be the one to check for snakes, because he wants to lead you safely to your destination.

He did.

There, I stepped into my little A-frame hut, not having any bearing on where I was or who I was here with. There was no phone, no TV, just me and the barking dog down in the valley outside my window. The spiky fence and barbed wire outside my window did little to calm my nerves. At some point in our lives, we are going to have to learn to give up control, to surrender to our circumstances and trust that things will work out the way they were meant to. It is only through trust that we can allow ourselves the chance to accept what is being given.

I was in a foreign country alone. It was a scary thought. But the fact I was here to do what I loved was an even more beautiful one.

I laid back on the bed. I willed myself to go to sleep, with the promise of waking up in the morning. I did.

Keeping the Faith in Costa Rica

About Lainy Carslaw

Lainy CarslawLainy Carslaw is a mom, gymnastics coach, and writer from Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. She has her undergraduate degree in Poetry from the University of Pittsburgh, and an MFA in Fiction from Chatham University. Her work can be found in The Madwomen in the Attic Anthologies, The Nasty Women/ Bad Hombre Anthology, and Technique Magazine. She is also a regular contributor to her local newspaper, The Hampton News and has hopes of publishing her first novel, Regrip in the near future.

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