In January of this year, 2013, my husband and I visited Costa Rica for the first time.
It was early summer for the Costa Rican community of Guanacaste, and the tropical heat was just what our cold weary bones needed. We soon acclimated to the laid back, hammock and lounge chair resting lifestyle. And we discovered almost everywhere we went, the locals would wish us, “Pura Vida.”
Not sure what it meant, we’d smile politely, and say, “Thank you.” As we got out of their earshot, invariably we’d look at each other and say, “I wonder what they’re telling us.”
It wasn’t until the day before we headed back to the U.S. that I connected to the Internet and looked up this strange greeting. I felt a warming in my heart when I realized the Costa Rican people were wishing us a pure life in the literal translation. The cultural meaning is better life, plenty of life, this is living, or real living. And it makes me think of a promise I’ve heard many times before.
In the New King James version of John 10:10, Jesus says, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
It struck me how similar the deepest longings of people are, no matter what region or culture they come from. We all seek a better life, an abundant life, and it only comes from a pure life. Yet, we all know that on our own we aren’t capable of living purely. At least I know I can’t. That’s why I need a Savior.
But through Him, I am exploring the adventure of living in peace-filled abundance. These might seem like juxtaposed terms, but that’s the beauty of following Jesus. He understands my humanity. He knows I’m a Christian, but I’m not dead. I still love to laugh, to dare, to investigate the curious, to love imperfectly, to share everyday things with ordinary people who do extraordinary things. And He carries me into places I’d never venture if I were on my own.
Like the wilds of the cloud forests, white-faced monkey laden trees, and volcanic landscape of Costa Rica, I’m traipsing through a jungle. And though there are brambles of family drama, thickets of unseen problems, predators of fear trying to keep me from a better life — with Jesus I continue on. And though it isn’t perfect, because I reside on planet Earth, I am thrilled with my abundant life today. He is the better life. He is Pura Vida, and I couldn’t want anything more. Through Him, I am complete.
Are you experiencing Pura Vida? Do you know the beauty of abundance?
Anita Fresh Faith
Anita Agers-Brooks is a Business and Inspirational Coach, Certified Personality Trainer, Productivity Expert, Certified Training Facilitator, Communications Specialist, national speaker, and author of, First Hired, Last Fired — How to Become Irreplaceable in Any Job Market.
She’s a partner in The Zenith Zone, a business coaching firm. Member of the Christian Writer’s Guild, Toastmasters, a client of WordServe Literary Group, graduate of CLASSeminars for Leaders, Speakers, and Authors, a co-founder of The StoryWriting Studio, and speaker on circuit for Stonecroft International Ministries.
Anita’s passionate about business with integrity, healthy relationships, and issues of identity. She travels the country teaching others from her personal experiences and research. She believes it’s never too late for a fresh start with fresh faith. Anita lives in Missouri with her husband Ricky.