What would you do if everything you had was stolen?
Would you cry?
Watch surveillance videos and chase down the thief for justice?
Call your dad?
Drink a milkshake?
Replace the stolen items and journey onward?
Would you consider it pure joy?
A week ago, I learned what I would do. I did all these things. After a couple cheerful weeks celebration of Christmas and New Year's with my family and friends in the US, I was out running some last minute errands with my mom before my flight back to Costa Rica. While enjoying one last comforting bowl of chicken wild rice soup, someone snatched my purse with cell phone, passport, lisence, IDs, cash and credit cards and used them for multiple large purchases at Target of all places, (which is semi hilarious.) I was in shock for a moment before I burst out crying. This changed everything. I had a weird feeling of fear I couldn't quite shake all week and this just set it spiraling. I was just hours away from a flight back to Costa Rica to begin a new year and new adventures. I was set to move into a new house the next day, and start a new job and endeavers. I felt for a moment that none of this was possible anymore. The items in my wallet were the means to getting me to my dreams of this new year of 2019. I felt a pit in my stomach. My parents ordered Chinese take out from our favorite spot and I filled the pit with hot pot chicken and dumplings. I ate fortune cookies.. all of them as my parents and I read the fortunes laughing...
"Accept something that you cannot change, and you will feel better"
"It's during difficult times that true friends become apparent"
"You wear your heart on your sleeve"
"You have a tendency to find creative solutions to problems"
"Your nature is intense, magnetic, and passionate"
We also did the Bible Study lesson for the week about the story of David choosing faith and trust God and not responding to adversity in anger, fear, or revenge, but with honor.
Psalm 37: Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away. Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lord , and he will give you the desires of your heart. He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun. Be still before the Lord.
Psalm 37:1-4, 6-9 NIV
All my plans were set on pause while a scavenger hunt of a week began to replace my stolen items. This week has been quite an adventure and one I could not have accomplished without the help of my family and friends. My mom and dad, sister and brother in law were particularly helpful! They even started a go fund me and people were so kind to help me financially float the expenses I need to replace the stolen items and plane ticket ect. If you would linked to donate to my efforts follow this link: https://www.gofundme.com/helpemilygetherjoybackandgethome
After a moment (ok maybe a day) of disillusionment, I snapped out of my anger and grief and started walking in Grace. I went to church with my family, heard a powerful lesson on the simple gospel of Jesus, realized all is Grace - undeserved- I didn't do and can't do anything to earn favor and forgiveness from God. All is a gift, all is Grace... Freely I have received and I freely I can give. I humbled my heart, took communion, forgave my robber and began to walk out the next steps of recovery, reconciliation, and replacements of all my stolen documents and walk toward living my dreams.
James 1 kept coming to mind: "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.
James 1:2-6 NIV
I was very grateful for the extra quality time in Minnesota, even in the bitter cold. I made it my goal to find joy in all circumstances. To make the most of the time. I made a little list of the joys I discovered for fun:
Joy in the DMV
Joy on the Social Security office
Joy in the Federal Court house
Joy in the passport office
Joy on the phone with banks, airlines, and police
Joy of living without a phone
The Joy of Church at Hiawatha and Grove Community
The Joy of singing my heart out.
The Joy of making connections with amazing people
The Joy of going to work with my dad and exploring downtown St. Paul
The joy of seeing my nephew play his first basketball game.
The joy of eating donuts
The joy of lattes cuddled by fires.
The joy of bible Study Fellowship discussion group and lecture
The joy of Perkins pie round table conversation
The joy of reading and browsing bookshops and libraries - Milkweed Edition and the Open book making studio - meeting authors and illustrators.
The joy of discovering new eateries and coffee shops with my friends : Hai Hai, Fairgrounds
The joy of exploring ice caves and castles and walks on frozen lakes
The joy of the Minneapolis local music scene: Ben Rosenbush and the Brighten CD release concert
The joy of creative coffee and consults with mentors and friends.
The joy of having time to gain clarity of vision and time to rest, plan, and pace myself into the new year.
The Joy of cheesecake with my mom.
The Joy of adventures to the zoo and conservatory jungle with my nieces.
The Joy of telling stories and laughing until midnight with a dear old friend.
The joy of my high school's new edition opening and reunion.
The Joy of seeing the journey unfold.
The Joy of intersection: the chain of people I met along the way to and in San Jose.
The Joy of friends who show up for you.
The Joy of trusting God and His timing.
The joy of missing my bus.
The joy of waiting at the bus station.
The joy of too much luggage and asking for help with carrying it.
The joy of long bus rides and conversations in Spanish.
The joy of walking into my new home.
The joy of reconnecting my phone and receiving a thousand messages.
The joy of moving all my things.
The joy of unpacking. Like Christmas!
The joy of setting up a new space.
The joy of a blank canvas of a new year ahead.
Cheers to choosing joy. We can find a thousand joys every day.
"you should write a blog called the Joy of being robbed" -oh kawan
waking up in my dream
So content and happy to be here in the garden in peace.