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Pura Vida.

In every culture, you can find a phrase that sums up life as it is, and which has many meanings. Down here in Costa Rica the national saying is Pura Vida. Translated literally it means “ pure life” and is a call to the vibrant and wild tropical ecosystem and a way of being. But to most, it holds quite a wide variety of different interpretations. It’s bounced around as a greeting, an agreement, and most often as a way of explaining the way things are. Kind of like a mixture of “ Murphy’s law” (if something can go wrong it probably will) and a laisse-faire attitude of “ it is what it is”, with “ easy does it”.

This last meaning is the one I lean on the most to explain and sometimes complain about how things are down here.

Case in point. This past weekend Karina and I set out for a 4-hour trip to the mountains where we are hosting the Nest team at an Airbnb retreat to fellowship and plan for the year ahead. About 2 hours into the drive our radiator sprung a leak in the Nest's new SUV and we quickly overheated the car. So we stopped for lunch and let it cool down.

Pura vida.

We then turned around and limped back home with frequent water stops to keep the car from further damage. Then we transferred all the groceries to the roof rack of our jeep and set out again for the hills.

As we ascended the mountains we drove up into a huge landslide that had just occurred. The road was a mess of rock, rubble, and downed power lines, completely impassable.

Pura vida.

We turned around and followed another car to a detour route. About 20 minutes into this new direction we got snarled in a corner and came upon a truck that had wrongly negotiated a hairpin curve while carrying a huge concrete something or other and then had broken the axle on his truck, completely blocking the road in all directions.

Pura Vida.

Then this guy drives up next to us and says “ follow me” I know another secret way around the mountain. So we follow him until he turns off the road into a field. He says to follow a rocky 2-rut road, keeping to the left at every junction. So we start out on this gravel road that keeps getting more and more narrow. We have no idea where we’re going.

Pura Vida.

Midway up this steep incline, we happen upon a mini traffic jam with a bunch of trucks carrying cows who are having engine trouble and can’t turn around on this one-lane road.

Pura Vida.

So here we are stuck on a dark hill waiting in the rain while the truck gets fixed. And then we’re off again on our adventure.

I’m pleased to say that the rest of the weekend was a relaxing time of fellowship with our dear team members. Eating meals together, praying together, and singing songs. We played games to unite us in team spirit and planned out the activities for the calendar year ahead of us.

All the troubles getting up here could have been a source of discouragement but instead, they became our joy at overcoming life’s obstacles one at a time. Or in other words…Pura Vida

With love and gratitude

James Beach


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