International Ministries

Life Lessons and Proverbs

November 3, 2011 Journal
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Life lessons and proverbs

My family and I have learned many things in our short 3 months in Costa Rica…so much more than just Spanish.  Here are just a few things.

In San José, they have what students at ILE affectionately call “Gringo traps.”  Basically these are storm drains along the road that have no drain covers.  “Why don’t they have covers,” you might ask.  It is because they have been procured by locals and are being used as cooking grates for their barbecue.

Using the horn when driving is an art.  When driving, there are two kinds of horn “honks.”  The first is a friendly honk to let people know you are in their vicinity.  The second is the “what-were-you-thinking” honk.  That one is self-explanatory.  Also, when stopping to let someone into traffic, you don’t honk at all…you flash the lights.

There are so many more, but I think that there is truly one thing I have learned that has proven extremely valuable...

Umbrella Management.

Don’t laugh, it is an art I am finding. 

In Costa Rica, during the rainy season it rains constantly.  If you don’t have you umbrella everywhere you go, it is a foregone conclusion you will often smell like a wet animal.  Staying dry is a priority, but having an umbrella isn’t enough, you have to know how to use it to stay dry.  You have to account for many variables.  Wind, amount and intensity of rain, location of overhangs and drain chains (instead of downspouts) all factor into staying dry in the daily “gully-washer” as they say back home.  If you don’t hold the umbrella at the right angle or height, you or your friend will get wet.  Next to Spanish, umbrella management will make or break your daily life in a country with a rainy season.

This leads me to a great Costa Rican Proverb I heard the other day.  Loosely translated it says:

“If you snuggle up to a tree with good branches, you will have a blanket in its shade."

There is another saying that is strikingly similar that ties it all together for me…

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.” (Ps. 91.1 ESV)

As you go about your day, no matter what direction you hold the umbrella to protect you from the rains in your life, may you always seek to “snuggle up” under the shelter of the Almighty God of the Universe.  It is only there that you will find protection and love you truly need.  Stay in the shade, my friends.

Nothing without Him
J.D.