The airport highway was clean and well-ordered. Not a piece of garbage was to be seen along the grassy median, and come to think of it, no one was honking their horns, even though traffic was thick. People were deferring to each other in the normal struggle for a piece of pavement. Presidential campaign billboards also proliferated, preparing for Sunday’s general election. “Will there be any violence during your election?” I asked. “Not here,” the sisters said. “Why is Costa Rica so clean and peaceful,” I asked Edwin. “Por ahora, there are many good people here,” he repeated. “For now.”
“Hasta cuando?” I asked again teasingly. “For how long?” Again Edwin tilted his head, as if to the Almighty. Our country is in God’s hands, he seemed to say. How long can we hold out against the seemingly inexorable tide of globalization, of big tech and big data, of big oil and big agriculture, of big pharma and big media and big government? How much longer can this small country remain content with “a sufficiency,” as St. Paul writes. Only God knows. But I know this: that each of us can decide to be content with what we have. We can choose to respect the balance of nature by living in quiet joy, seeing beauty where it is to be found, in the smallest and simplest gifts of God. These dear sisters have chosen it, and Edwin has chosen it … for now.