It has come to my attention, Gentle Reader, that some of you are of the opinion your Kitchen Philosopher has been a bit preachy of late, and that perhaps you may welcome something with a lighter touch. Perhaps an account of one of my cruise adventures might provide a welcome respite from heavier matters if I somehow observed spiritual applications in my travels. I herewith obediently submit my account.
My traveling companion, Kathy, is my sister-in-law, married to Himself’s brother Bob.
Come with us now to Puerto Limon, Costa Rica. For reasons too dreary for this account, we arrived behind schedule and many shore excursions were cancelled. Himself and I planned, in this place, to go on an “eco-tour,” a canal boat ride through the jungle. We’d see mischievous monkeys, colorful exotic birds, and crocodiles.
Our tour, scheduled for 8:30 a.m., was cancelled. Bob and Kathy graciously insisted we take their place on a 2:30 p.m. tour, but we ladies sensed this could be a meaningful brother-bonding day, so our husbands went on the tour, and Kathy and I decided to go shopping.
As soon as we stepped out onto the rather dreary dock, we were accosted by a buzzing swarm of drivers, Spanish-speaking Jamaican fellows who pronounced the word “ship” as “chip,” and offered to take us on a tour of the area.
It was POURING DOWN RAIN. Remember this. Hard rain. Rain so hard the top of my head may have appeared bald to folk less kindly disposed than Gentle Reader.
Kathy and I haggled about price, hired “Ricky” for one hour and got in the back seat of his ancient Hyundai. He took us for a ride. All over. Talking all the time.
“Don’t worry, Leddy. I show you beautiful flowerrrs, beau-ti-ful trees. You want to see bananas? I show you bananas. I show you downtown. You like black people’s food? I take you where you eat wonderful black people’s food.”
Whenever I protested, declaring we intended to pay him for only one hour, he said, “Don’t worry, Leddy. No problomm mom. I get you back to chip on time. If we go ten minutes more, no problomm. Don’t worry. You like my countrrry? You like what I show you? Ooohh, that make Ricky sooooo heppy! Ricky is heppy when lovely Christian leddy like my country.” (How he knew I was Christian is unclear. I must just have a look.)
“I’m a Christian. Oooh, yess! I am servant of the Lorrd Jesuss Chrrist. I prrreach the Gosspil of the Lorrrd Jesuss Chrrist. I don’t drink rum. I don’t smoke tobacco. I don’t fornication.”
After about 40 minutes of driving all over and showing us exotic sights, like the office of the Red Cross and the soccer stadium, and answering our questions about “what kind of flower is that?” and he says “we call it the bright rrred flower tree,” or we ask “what is the little yellow bird, Ricky, there, up high in ba-na-na tree?” and he says “we call it a little yellow cheep cheep,” I’m growing nervous. I feel like all 40 minutes have been spent moving farther and farther away from “the chip.”
As he assures me it is no problem, not to worry, the flower plantation is just at the top of this hill (very steep, two thin tire lines—did I mention it is RAINING!!!?) we’re climbing ever more slowly. The Hyundai doesn’t seem to be making it up the hill. I suggest that Kathy and I get out to walk, and get back in the car at the top of the hill, and he says once more “no prroblomm” just as the driver’s side of the car slides into a ditch of which we had not previously been aware, due to the heavy vegetation growing up to the tire tracks.
It was the side I was sitting on, in the back seat. I blame myself, really.
His efforts to extricate the car from this ditch only drove it deeper. Just as the driver’s side of the car came to rest, almost on its side, the motor quit and wouldn’t restart.
Did I mention it is raining really hard and there is no sign of human habitation here? There’s a reason it is called a rain forest. At this moment we have no idea if any other tourists ever get out alive, or if anybody knows where we are.
Picture, if you must, Kathy and your Kitchen Philosopher (wearing a skirt, of course) climbing out of the high side of this car. Picture us hanging on to each other to keep from sliding down the slippery hill.
Ricky asks, “Are you afrrraid, Leddy?”
I said “No, Ricky, we’re just trying to keep from falling down.”
Kathy asked “What if we have to go to the bathroom?” It seemed prudent to wait as Ricky had just told us about the abundant poisonous snakes and bugs in the area.
Ricky is walking down the hill, to get help, we hope. Or, and this thought crossed my mind, his cousins Manuel and Jose who are at this moment bringing their big black cannibal kettle to a rolling boil.
We bemoaned the fact it wouldn’t even be in the church newsletter as “two missionary ladies missing and presumed eaten by Costa Rican cannibals.”
Do they have cannibals in Costa Rica? We should have done better research.
As you have already surmised, Ricky succeeded in finding a relative (an in-law, if my limited Spanish serves me) who jammed us into HIS Hyundai with a couple of fellow cruise passengers. We were back on board before our husbands returned.
Himself later told me, “It turned out all right, but if you ever do anything like that again, and I’m on the ship worrying about you getting back in time to sail because you are lost in the jungle, you’d better be dead.”
My eyes brimmed with tears, so touched was I by his concern.
And now, Gentle Reader, your patience is to be rewarded with the life applications you were promised:
Be sure your leader knows the way. Following someone who claims to be a Christian doesn’t guarantee you won’t be led farther and farther away from the ship. When the blind lead the blind, they both sink in the ditch. See John 8:12 and Matthew 15:14.
Fear not, for I am with you, says the Lord. It is no more difficult for God to keep His children safe in a Costa Rican rain forest than in a concrete jungle. See Isaiah 43:1-2.
Let the peace of Christ rule: The fact is, I did pray before we rode off with into the jungle with Ricky. Christ’s peace in my heart, an inner knowing that He said “go ahead” gave me the confidence to go ahead. See Colossians 3:15.
If you’re blessed to hear the music, Dance: Maybe it’s due to my age, but I see so many people who appear to be dead while they’re still walking around. I’d rather die in the midst of life than live as if I’m already dead. My next-door neighbor was aghast when I told her my Ricky story and then told her we went to a Mission and orphanage in Mexico. “You could have gotten sick! I wouldn’t do that for anything!” I did get very sick, to tell the truth, but I survived and I wouldn’t trade the joy of being in that amazing place for anything.
Living the abundant life involves risk. I don’t think it pleases God when we take foolhardy chances with our lives, but I believe it is better to die in the pursuit of something wonderful than to sit around waiting to die of boredom. If we’d stayed safe and dry on the ship we would have missed a wonderful adventure and laughter lasting until now. See Nehemiah 8:10 and Matthew 9:15
The Lord is with us! Rejoice!