By Caroline Johnson, FC 17 Costa Rica
Both the gospels of Luke and Matthew say, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Luke 12:34, Matthew 6:21). The four of us here in Costa Rica were recently praying on this particular passage, and I’ll be honest, it brought me to tears.
As we wind down our time here in Costa Rica, I daily fluctuate between tears of joy over the indescribable year we have had and tears of sadness at the heartbreak of leaving behind so many people I have come to deeply love. On the days where sadness overcomes my heart, this passage from the Gospels of Luke and Matthew has been a true lifesaver as I’ve realized just how many treasures I have been blessed with both here in Costa Rica and in the United States.
It is a treasure to have loved and been loved so fiercely that I find it nearly impossible to leave this new home of mine. I have met some of the most loving and giving people who have welcomed me into their homes as family and who have maintained the patience of saints as I have learned, practiced, butchered and persevered with this beautiful Spanish language. My volunteer site has showered me with gifts every single day from the innocent, unadulterated love of the children I get to work with to the small acts of kindness my coworkers show me every day. The three women I am lucky to have as community members have taught me countless lessons about faith, fun, and femininity in this crazy world we get to live in.
I am also blessed to have incredible adventures awaiting me upon my arrival back to the States. I get to move to a vibrant new city to pursue a master’s degree in a field I have been infatuated with since my junior year of undergrad, and I get to live in the same city as one of my dear community members, Erin!
The verse from Luke and Matthew reminds me that, unlike my mortal self, my heart can be in two places at once so long as I recognize the treasures in those places that keep my heart grounded there. When I first came to Costa Rica I knew that it would be my home for the next year, but I never considered the depth of the definition of home. Home really is where the heart is, no matter if you yourself are there or not. As each day brings me closer to returning to my first home in the States, I am overwhelmed with joy, love, sadness, and gratefulness for the privilege to have another place to truly call my home here in Costa Rica. A large piece of my heart will forever stay here in Costa Rica, and I think that’s the beauty of a life lived in search of God’s treasures – that the more we open our hearts to the path God leads us on, the more our treasures accumulate and multiply.