Monday, July 4, 2011

Celebrating "Americanadianism"

Parliament Building - Ottawa, Ontario
Iwo Jima Memorial - Washington, D.C.

This weekend, two countries celebrate their birthdays - Canada on July 1st and the United States today, July 4th.  I celebrate this weekend two great countries which I have the wonderful privilege of being able to call home.

I was born in a a small city, Fostoria, Ohio in 1972 to a wonderful father from Michigan and an amazing mother from Canada, by way of Scotland.  Our little cultural melting pot moved to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada about a year later, and that is where I spent the majority of my life, with the exception of a few years in London, Ontario where I went to university.  Sault Ste. Marie lies right on the border between Ontario and Michigan.  For years, we have taken for granted that we could just hop in the car (and even once on my bike!) and head across the bridge in the picture below and be in a whole other country in minutes!

Ron, Peyton & Moira on Canadian side of the St. Mary's River in
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.  Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan lies in the distance.
(July 2008)
Head down to the waterfront at Bellevue Park, the marina at the end of Pine Street, the boardwalk by the Station Mall, all on the Canadian side, and you can look straight across to the United States.  It is peaceful.  There is no conflict along the border.  People come and go as they please, barring any unforeseen delays at Customs!  Residents of either side have privileges and rights which many other nations do not share.

After I met my future husband, I relocated to Houston, Texas, leaving my Canada behind.  I have the luxury of holding dual citizenship.  The move, for me, was as "easy" as throwing my belongings in a moving van and presenting an itemized list inside the Customs office when we were heading over that same bridge.  I was moving "home" to the officials in that office.  When I arrived in Texas, I went about the business of searching for employment, which came in a couple short months.

In August 2008, our little family loaded up a big moving truck (ok, so the movers did...we just loaded our vehicle!) and headed across the country to Charleston, South Carolina.  We did so with ease.  By that, I mean that we enjoyed the privilege of having the freedom to choose where we decide to plant our family.  We have the freedom to hang our hat wherever we choose.

Another freedom which is often taken for granted is the freedom of religion.  We grew up Catholic and baptized our children in the Catholic church.  The arrogance of a local clergy member caused our family, searching for God and faith, to be turned away from a particular church.  That's a post for another day!  We could have chosen to stop going to church altogether, but instead we searched and ultimately found an amazing church home at a non-denominational church, Seacoast Church.  Freedom.  Freedom to choose and express one's beliefs is an incredible privilege which so many take for granted.

From education to health care (yes, I see the benefits of the health care systems on BOTH sides of the border!!) to religion to so many other things, we have privileges the likes of which most nations can't even fathom.

I am proud to call myself Canadian.  I am proud to call myself American.  Today, I embrace the privileges which have been given me just because God chose for me to be in this place at this point in time.  I could have been placed in any location in the world, but He put me here.

To all those men and women, past and present, who have fought to protect the privileges of both of these great nations, I thank you!

 2 The Lord sits in majesty in Jerusalem,exalted above all the nations. 3 Let them praise your great and awesome name. Your name is holy!  Psalm 99:2-3 (NLT)

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