04 July 2012

This Land

I am not overly inclined to be sentimental about most things, and indulgence in any sort of fervor is really not my style. My friends and family are quite aware of my tendencies, and would be startled indeed should I suddenly begin professing deep and passionate feelings related to most anything not related to God or my loved ones. My tendency toward patriotism is such that it might seem as though I haven't any at all. In truth, however, I hold much devotion to the nation of my citizenship, though my journey has been one very different from most people's. I was born in the United States of America, but did not really grow up in that country. I was an adolescent before I lived in the US permanently. There is still, and always will be, a part of me that belongs to the home of my youth, and that is the way of human nature. We are capable of such complexity.

How did I come by my slow-growing patriotism? Imagine, if you will, a story such as this: Suppose I was a child born to a woman who may have been lovely, good and gracious. For reasons not relevant to the story, I was removed from my birth mother and raised by a foster mother. We were happy together and lived in harmony for many years. Others may have looked at us and not understood how we belonged together, but we just knew. I thought we would be together forever. Then one day, I was suddenly taken from my foster mother and returned to my birth mother. Though she was frightening in her unfamiliarity, she was kind in her own way and hoped I could learn to accept her. I remained with her out of duty, as it was the correct and proper thing to do, even though I grieved every day for the lost mother of my youth. Year after year, I worked hard to feel as if I belonged with my birth mother, though we had many differences and even angry disagreements. "You don't understand me. You're not my real mother!" Gradually, I came to accept much of what my birth mother had to offer, not least because still, I knew my duty and would work hard for her. (I'm still a good Asian.) Finally, after two decades, I suddenly realized that I had come to love my birth mother, and I can still love my foster mother without conflict, because they each have a place in my life and in my heart. There is always a right time to belong to each of them. My birth mother needs me right now, as she needs all her children. We need to do the right thing by her. She's been having a rough time of it recently, but she still has plenty of fight left in her and looks good for her age.

Happy birthday, Mom Country!

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