No Man is an Island by Megan Joy Crow
When I was growing up, we never missed church. I always thought Sundays were special! They involved wearing a pretty dress (and if I was lucky, shoes that tap-tapped on the pavement), greeting everyone, singing hymns, Sunday school—and a crockpot of beef stew waiting for us back at the house.
Church was a place I loved to be, and for much of my life, that building was a second home and the people in it, my extended family. My memories are filled with potluck suppers and cookouts, guitars and marshmallows by the campfire, Easter sunrise services by the town landing, and hands passing the bread and juice of communion down the rows.
The people in the church not only babysat and taught us piano, but also invited us over for holiday meals. This was especially significant, considering we had no relatives in the area. As I entered adolescence, adults in church mentored me, trusted me to mow their lawns and babysit their children. If ever my parents were unavailable, I knew who I could count on.
There is a saying that there is no place like home, yet maybe we end up in an entirely different region, country or continent from where we began. We accept the adventure and establish a new residence, filling it with familiar decorations and treasures from our past. We adapt as we take on new employment, put the kids in a new school, learn our way around the neighborhood and try out the supermarkets. To all outward appearances, we are brave, successful and competent as we create a new home.
However, the poet John Donne was right when he wrote,
“No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.”
Now an adult, I have been living overseas for almost thirteen years. While I have adapted well to the language and traditions of Costa Rica, I wouldn’t have made it this far without the support of others along the way. Many of the people in my church community here have provided me with housing, transportation, food, and a place to go for the holidays. Also, phone calls, hospital visits, a shoulder to cry on, and jokes to laugh at. In this foreign land, they act as my family.
These days, I no longer aim to be brave, successful and competent, but rather a piece of the continent, a part of the main. In Escazú Christian Fellowship, I have found meaningful friendships and gained new perspectives from the diversity of this international group. It is a place where I can express my needs and still feel safe, loved and accepted. My life is the better for it.
ECF extends a warm welcome to all English speakers in the San José area. Come and share in the peace of Christ on Sunday evenings at 5 pm.