I mean, seriously, it was really bad.
Two weeks ago we got a letter in the mail that said the boys citizenship request had been approved. YAY!!!! And that they had to be in Dallas for an oath ceremony…What? Dallas?
It was all a little wishy-washy though because the letter also said they didn’t have to take the oath, but after three phone calls it was clear they would neither change the location nor would they just mail us the certificates.
(What? I'm a tired mom on a limited budget!)(And also? Six hours in the car with littles to sit for two hours at a ceremony. I don't see you jumping out of your pants excited about that now are you?)
So we dropped the girls at Nana and Poppa's and planned to be home in just a little over twenty-four hours.
So my bad attitude and my boy family hopped in the minivan and trucked it to Dallas.
My eyes scanned the smattering of people as we all started to crowd into the building. Smiles exchanged and little excited tickles and shoulder punches shared. These were a people with a buzz of anticipation.
My weak bad attitude was no match for the contagion of their enthusiasm. Before I knew it I was practically bubbling.
Russ struck up a conversation with a young lady from Vietnam who had lived here for four years, her mother couldn't speak a word of English, but you could see the pride for her baby girl in her eyes.
"Stand and be recognized when we call your country of origin."
That's the part that did me in. Somewhere around Mexico hot tears started to fill my eyes, by the time they made it to Uganda I was a mess. The room was thundering with applause each time a country was called and families stood up.
They were now a part of the land of opportunity.
You could feel the pride pulsing through the room. It's different now. You could hear the whisper of hearts through the room.
It was such a special thing to be a part of and in that moment it occurred to me that this isn't just for them. It's for us.
I'm in the land of opportunity.
Without ever buying a plane ticket I have the opportunity to meet the best part of any country...it's people.
I have the opportunity to share in the rich culture that they carry with them when they come here.
I have the opportunity to learn language that isn't mine by a native speaker.
I have the opportunity to misunderstand and disagree and to grow deeply into compassion and humility as we walk in the freedom of disagreement.
I have an opportunity to be Jesus and love deeply people who might not ever have gotten that chance.
Immigration is about opportunity, but not just for those incoming souls who are looking for a new chance. It is an opportunity for us to live what we believe. It is a chance for us to be stretched and expanded by the world we love right within our borders.
This is where the rubber meets the road. Are we willing to humble ourselves and say they aren't the only ones getting something out of this. Are we willing to live in the tension of believing we are all really free and equal? Are we we truly willing to love our neighbor?
Perhaps that requires something different. An internalization of freedom that can't be moved by outside influence. A spirit of freedom that can't be demolished by principalities and powers. Maybe we to find real freedom to love freely.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17