Over a month and a half has passed since my GAP year ended. Or since it began, depending on how you want to look at it. I have found that endings and beginnings only differ in that one is filled with gratitude and the other with hope. I live each day in a limbo between the life that I once knew, the life that in ten months became so dear to me, and the life that I now know- the infiniteness of one moment stretching out to touch the fingertips of the past. I laugh, and see old friends, and speak, but find my words are ladened with the thousand goodbyes that still hang on my lips. The question "how was your year?" is enough to swirl the waters of my memory and bring to the surface sentiments that were just beginning to settle. And then I think back on Costa Rica; its familiar sounds and smells, its challenges and its joys, its people, and the final month that I was there.
It turns out that this last month brought so many good things. Spanish, although forever a struggle, no longer became the foremost thought in my mind. Friendships began to solidify and deepen, services became not only an obligation but a joy, and prayer became less of a lifeline and more of a wellspring. In short, Costa Rica and the life of the GAP was becoming my home. But with all of this goodness came a myriad of questions. I finally came to the point where my year was not an endless, tangible line of sufferings and failures but a daily exchange of blessings, but I also knew that it was time to end. Not another month in the GAP, not a summer of service, not a continuation in the Fall. My year was over. But I was serving, growing, and finally able to relate in a semi-normal way with the rest of society, and wasn't this the GAP year that I was meant to live for all ten months but had just planned poorly and hadn't been able to? So why shouldn't this continue? I had come all this way and in the end I still wasn't going to accomplish something great? Why was it all ending now that I finally wasn't ready to come home?
Well, the answer that I found was the answer that had been taking root and growing for eight months longer than all my other doubts and questions. The answer was simply that despite my weaknesses, failures, and inabilities- and even through them- God accomplishes His work. In Ezekiel 22:30, God seeks for someone among the Israelites "who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so to that I would not have to destroy it". A Gapper is someone who answers the call to come to the aid of the people and stand in the gap (yeah, I didn't know this was the motto until halfway through the year either). There may be a great number of people that answer this call and actually do some heavy lifting. They might end their year with metaphorically calloused hands and spiritually toned muscles from the great amount of stones they've added to make the wall stronger, taller, more protected. And as much as I might have ached to be one of those people, I think all I did during my year was stand in the gap. Like, literally just stand there in the middle of the wall and defend it with ten months of my life. But through the realization of God's work through me I was able to find rest and to see ten separate months of service each with its blessings and its struggles rather than nine wasted months with a one-month mad dash to redeem it all.
So my year ended. And after a gut-wrenching week of good byes which, conversation by conversation and person by person, served to tear the community away from me and me from the community, all connection that remains between me and the GAP is a wretched, shallow, social networking website called Facebook. In the effort to not taint the gift of the past year with my personal opinions on modern day media, I will end by speaking to you, dear reader. If you have, in fact, taken time out of your life to read about my ventures or to skim through these pages which all-in-all so palely and poorly express the truth of this year, I thank you. If I know you by name, I would love to talk with you and hear how you have been. If I have yet to know you, all the better! I'm sure we would get along just splendidly. And with that being said, this blog has come to its final words. I only ask that when you think of me, pray for me.
"may the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" -Philippians 4:7