This week, I have been on holiday - travelling with my Mom around Costa Rica. Well, perhaps that is a bit of an exaggeration - more lollygagging around Costa Rica. We didn't have any major plans and have had a delightful time so far seeing some sights and reading LOTS of fiction. Mmmm holidays. I think part of finishing grad school is going to be renewing my library card and moving into the library. I have missed stories, midst all of the articles I am trying to read on time.
After a bit of time in Ciudad Colon, letting my Mom get to know where I live and go to school, we headed off to the East Coast to soak up some sunshine on the beach. Our trip getting there was a bit chaotic. The system of maps leaves something to be desired here, and our lack of planning didn't help the adventure any. We did, however make it - in one piece - which is more than can be said for some of our road companions. Along the way, as the sun was setting, it started looking like the road was moving and the abundance of people on the road quickly more than doubled. As we slowed down, unsure of what was happening we saw waves and waves of crabs rapidly dashing across the highway, being shmacked and walloped by the people who were scooping them up into baskets and bags. We were so close to our destination, that we had to debate whether or not crab for supper could be a good idea, as it might just be the roadkill just passed.
We passed a few days kickin' around on the beach enjoying the sun, surf and stories before heading off to our present local, Arenal. Arenal is a Volcano located near to La Fortuna, where you may remember, I came for a hot-spring adventure with Sara (from school - not Sara my Mom) earlier in the year. We went into town today to see if we could catch some of the Good Friday happenings at the local church. It's hard to figure out how to stop into a church, at the right time, in a denomination that is not your own, and in a community that's not your own. We took a guess at something happening around 10 and headed off. Unfortunately the congregation had headed off to walk the Way of the Cross at 8:30 so we missed them. We did catch up with them at the end and had the chance to spend some time in the church before wandering around town.
I have a lot of friends coming from different faith backgrounds. I find it really interesting learning about different perspectives and practices of faith, especially as mine is pretty important to me. That said, I often find myself a bit confused by the Catholic Church. There are just somethings that seem SO strange, coming from my upbringing in the United Church of Canada - specifically a church that met, throughout my childhood, in school gymnasiums or community league buildings. The permanence of big cathedrals and the decor is just so different to me. I find it unnerving to enter a church with a giant bleeding crucified Christ hung or mounted at the front. I have all these recollections of being told that, 'we are an Easter people' celebrating the resurrection of Christ more than the crucifixion. I had some time to really think about that the two Easters I spent in Guatemala. In Edmonton the Good Friday services I have attended have been small groups of people and Easter brings out all sorts of people who normally never go to church; Guatemala, in my experience, has Good Friday as 'the day' of Easter, with Easter Sunday being just barely marked. I have wondered if generally cultures celebrate what is easiest to identify with. Communities who understand betrayal or suffering seem to embrace Good Friday in a way I cannot imagine the majority of folks at home understanding or practising. Clearly that is a generalization, but...
Anyway - the reason that came to mind is we walked into the church today and there at the front there was a giant figure of Christ, with hands and feet bearing the marks of nails, but no blood, no crown of thorns, no cross and no signs of suffering. Instead he hovers in front of a beautiful sky background, arms still outstretched, but appearing peaceful. As I sat there reflecting on the difference in flew a little bird. I love the openness of churches here and am SO thankful for that openness, as otherwise any form of church would be a complete sauna. The little bird flew up to Christ, darted behind his leg and disappeared. I have to admit any my of reflections on the day were lost to pondering where the little bird had gone and if it would reappear. Now, perhaps I didn't describe this figure that well. Christ, as depicted in the church here in La Fortuna, is not wearing much. No long flowing robe or anything like that - just a bit of a fabric delicately draped across his body. So as I sat watching, and waiting for the little bird it took everything in myself not to dissolve into my not-so-quiet laughter when the little bird reemerged from under the white fabric, right between Christ's legs. This repeated over and over, little bird fly in (at Christ's knee) and little bird fly out (from Christ's...). I eventually had to leave, but my Mom and I have had a delightful time joking today about how the Holy Spirit has descended as a bird OR how Jesus loved all of creation...
Tomorrow my Mom and I are planning a day of soaking in the hotsprings before heading off home to Ciudad Colon. It's been a great trip so far - and I will post some pictures later on, but from somewhere that the internet works a bit better.
peace to you!