I like America. I’ve traveled enough in the US to know that this isn’t a passing fancy or infatuation. America is good. We’re happy here.
But America and I still misunderstand each other.
The cheques... sorry, I mean, “checks”... we ordered from the local bank have this fantastic image of an American flag ghosted behind the Statue of Liberty. They scream Amurika. I love them.
I pointed to this particular check out of a page’s worth of more subtle ones decorated with typical images of mountains and lakes and birds. Anne thought my choice was hilarious. We had a good laugh.The bank manager looked at us with a blank face. She didn’t get it. I guess even over-the-top patriotism isn’t funny.
I’m really just a visitor here. My visa says I’m a student with limited rights. Canada is cutting ties. The bureaucracy in Ottawa is barely willing to acknowledge me. I’m feeling stateless.
I want to have an identity, to be patriotic. I live in California but I listen to CBC’s The World at Six while making dinner. The Arab world is blowing up again. I want a Canadian perspective, not trusting the crazy polarized opinions you get from ridiculous East Coast NPR liberals on the one hand and the hopeless, angry conspiracy theories from right-wing AM talk radio on the other. Last night I watched the CTV National News online while rubbing my sore thighs still recovering from a long run... that I measured in kilometers.
Who am I? Where do I belong?
Back home, I left some very close friends at work. Even some clients became more than just customers. I offered up heartfelt prayers for the people I was around every day. I still pray for them. But they must shake their heads when they hear this new story that I’m writing since we left for Redding. No longer am I Andrew Douglas, senior public relations specialist. Suddenly I’m this raw, unchecked crazy man, pouring out his heart, crying out to God.
Where did this all come from? How could it be happening so quickly?
God is moving fast. Deep down, I am a man becoming more and more convinced that the rest of my life will be lived in radical obedience to Jesus at every moment of the day, with every thought that passes through my head. He is too good and life is too short. This is what we’re called to. It’s the normal Christian life. And living life this way is the door to love beyond measure.
But it’s hard.
I still want to control things. There isn’t a road map for radicals. I trust Him... I think.
The other day we picked up California license plates for our car. Our old Ontario plates wouldn't come off. The bolts were rusted on. A mechanic put a wrench to them and they broke right off, forcing him to drill them out.
The new plates are on now. I tightened the bolts myself, although I didn’t put too much weight into the final torque of the wrench. After all, who knows where God will lead us in nine months and what license plates we’ll need. We’d better keep these ones loose. My identity change isn’t over yet.