By the third week in, there were things jiggling in places I didn't know I owned. Bits of chub had accrued here and there, and everywhere. Pulling on my skinny jeans turned into an ugly scene involving no less than four sumo-wrestler knee-bends and a couple of other sweet hoochie moves which I will not be describing here.
It was pretty gross - like watching the "Biggest Loser" in reverse, but in the end there's no winner, just a fat missionary complaining about her muffin-top.
Ok. Maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration - but that is how I felt, rolling onto the plane and bouncing my way back to Costa Rica.
I felt full.
The truth is, I love Costa Rica and I love her people, but sometimes living here is like a slow form of starvation for me. Not a physical starvation - there's plenty of good stuff to chow down on in these parts - no, I'm talking about a depletion of Spirit, a growing thirst in my soul, a pang of hunger that gnaws away, not at my belly, but at my heart.
You know what it is? It's an insatiable longing for Church.
I know that sounds so stupid because I'm a missionary and all that, and you could be all, "Dude! Isn't doing "church", like, your job or something?!" and I'd have a tough time arguing with your reasoning. Maybe. But, for me, there's nothing like worshiping God in my home Church, alongside the folks who raised me up, the people who helped form my spirit, those I look to for prayer and support and guidance. There's no comparison to singing my guts out in my first spoken language. And I've found no substitute for the way my Pastor's words work their way around in my cluttered soul. So, whenever we're in the states, I drink Church in with more gusto than a triple-venti-skinny-caramel-macchiato from Starbucks.
My church fills me up.
Don't get me wrong - There are some awesome churches in Costa Rica! I don't want to demean what God is doing here, or the Churches that are obviously seeking Him as they serve. It's not them, it's me - half the time I don't even know what's going on. I find myself concentrating so hard on deciphering Spanish that I walk away feeling depleted. I find myself singing to the God of Verb Conjugation, wondering through every song why they used this word or that. It's not exactly worshipful. To be honest, sometimes I really hate going to church here. It's just so tiring...
But this in not intended to be a complaint. If anything, it should be a thank you note....or maybe it's a love letter...to my Church. My imperfect, annoyingly suburban, coffee swilling, programmed to the max Church...you are the Body of Christ to me. Thank you for that. You drag my sorry ass to the foot of the cross and point me to the shining light of Jesus - every. time. You've made me who I am and you're making me better still, and I love that. You plump me up enough to sustain me through the desert-y parts of life, and I'm grateful. Thank you!
.... .... .... ....
So now I'm back in Costa Rica, and I'm plump. Both in body and in spirit. I guess that means I'm ready to take on a new year and to build up a new hunger. I'm cool with that. Actually, I'm really looking forward to it - especially the part where I ditch the muffin-top. Cuz... Ew.
Did you pack on the pounds this season, or am I the only one sporting a mid-section like a jelly doughnut?!