|Sweet dreams sans mosquitoes!|
|Nel & Kevin|
Hi Family and Friends!
Kevin and I had a weekend adventure on the north coast of Jamaica. A good friend of ours, whom we met shortly after arriving in Kingston, operates a kids’ camp and retreat center in the hills of St. Ann—a lush mountainous parish on the ocean. We spent the weekend at camp, enjoying the beauty and helping with some work projects around the property.
It was a throwback to the Good Old Days for sure. We sat on the porch and listened to an orchestra of tropical insects, their chirping and buzzing creating a masterpiece we’d never before noticed or appreciated. We snuggled under our mosquito net and listened to the rhythm of the pouring rain, rarely silent or still enough to enjoy its soothing presence. We ate fresh guava, ackee, and avocado pear and picked lemongrass straight from the garden for afternoon tea. I felt like Laura Ingalls Wilder’s cousin, with less farmland and more lizards—Little House in the Jungle, maybe?
One of the most encouraging parts of the weekend was our friend, Nel. Nel is a nurse from the Netherlands, who has lived in Jamaica for close to forty years. She came in her twenties and has devoted her life to serving the people and the country of Jamaica, which she now considers home. I've never met another person with the purity of heart as Nel. She lives simply. She has few earthly possessions. Whatever she has she shares willingly. She doesn't want for much and she doesn't envy others who have more. She trusts fully in God’s provision.
One of Nel’s greatest qualities (which I’m striving for in my own life): Nel believes that whatever she collects on earth won’t go with her when she dies, and she lives her life accordingly. We all believe this conceptually—we realize we can’t pack a suitcase for heaven. Unfortunately, most of us (me included) live as though we’ll be able to call the movers on our deathbed and give them the forwarding address. We focus on obtaining more; on collecting earthly treasures because we think they’ll make us happier. We scurry to keep up with the Joneses, thinking a bigger house or newer car will fill the void in our souls…only to find we’re just as unfulfilled in the bigger house, but with more rooms to clean.
Nel doesn’t have many earthly treasures, but when she gets to heaven, she’ll be one of the richest ones there. Our time in Jamaica is teaching me so much: That more stuff does not produce more joy. That less can be more. That a simple life is a refreshingly satisfying one. That a generous heart produces a fulfilled spirit. And that treasures in heaven are the ones worth collecting.
"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God."
Matthew 5: 8
Kevin & Cass