Today as I perused some very interesting pictures from albums labeled such things as “Capturing the American Character” to “Thrill Seekers and World Wonders”; to “Children of War” I felt air trickle from my lungs in slow, short puffs just before tears began their journey down my cheeks to drip from my chin. My heart crushed for the smiling or down-trodden looks on the faces of children living in war-torn countries, my adrenaline heightened at various acts of adventure, followed by the inevitable aha moment!
Who are we as Americans, anyway?
Under the heading Capturing the American Character I viewed children at Lemonade Stands, learning early lessons in entrepreneurship (the American dream), a boy named Pierre working in a potato field in Washington, a Chinese woman cultivating carnations on a flower farm in Carnation, Washington, Palestinian berry harvesters in Upstate New York, a small Swedish girl cradling a chicken on a farm in the Southeast, and a seventy-year-old Irish man holding a large watermelon grown in California.
It seems that many parts of the world have developed an entirely separate category for those of us sojourning here in the States. We’re simply Americans. A calloused, greedy lot.
In reality we are Dutch, French, Irish, British, Chinese, Japanese, German, Hungarian, Indian, Native American, Australian, Swedish, Jewish, Scottish, Palestinian, Mexican, Italian, African… and any combination thereof. In every instance some sort of sacrifice was made.
Growing up I was told that I was Irish/Dutch. That brought a mysterious swell of pride to my chest. A sense of belonging – belonging to something bigger than me.
To this day, Celtic music ignites an amazing sense of familiarity within my soul. So many are the times I feel transported. Flown over ocean and vale to overlook the rolling hills of my homeland, finding myself right in the middle of an Irish celebration for which I had somehow never left. As if my ancestors had never immigrated to
and fallen to their knees in thanks to their God as the grand Statue of Liberty came into view, exciting a sense of victory down to their very marrow. America
The picture at the beginning of this blog is of my grandmother, Nettie Leigh (Delcie) Kelly Ayers. She provided a large helping of my Irish heritage. The picture at left is of my grandmother, Delcie, and my grandfather, Iverson (Bo) Ayers, Irish as well. Can’t you just see him standing atop one of those luscious green hills, the wind blowing through his wavy, Irish hair? I can and it fills me with thanksgiving for my rich heritage.
You knew this would lead to something about my God. It had to.
An overused cliché some may call it, but it is as true as rain, fresh as spring and as comforting as a cup of hot mint tea on a cool May morning – we all, as Christians, are also sojourners here. We belong to a different land, a kingdom, and a grand kingdom it is. Full of abundant heritage, provided to us through the great sacrifice of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ.
As much as I long to stand proud on a high, green hill in Ireland, Celtic music vibrating the foggy mist above the water, I long for the Kingdom of Heaven far more. John 14:2-3, Rev. 3:12, Mark 13:27
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls8JGSxwjZQ (Love this song!)
Love and Blessings, Laura K.