Occasionally when perusing my iPhone, I fall upon a note from May when my sister, K, and I went on a mini-road trip from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon. Whenever, I see the message, my stomach falls. Who would know that a message containing six characters ‘248 VSV’ would have such an effect months after the incident where I frantically typed it into my phone?
Without being dramatic (I have to admit I’ve relayed the story at least a half dozen times since then), here’s what happened:
*Sisters decided to go on vacation to the Grand Canyon. To save money, both sisters decide to camp.
*Older sister (yours truly) has a low tolerance for woodland/dessert animals and scorpions. Older sister also doesn’t want to travel in style in the 1998 Ford Taurus. As such, older sister has a stroke of genius and decides the sisters will car camp. Older sister rents a super sweet Jeep to live out her dream of driving with the wind in her hair along Route 66.
*The morning of the trip, sisters arrive and pick up super sweet car. The original model was unavailable, so sisters get a free upgrade to a Jeep Commander. Older sister is thrilled but nervous. The Commander is three times expensive as the car she drives around Seattle. However, older sister deals with it quite easily.
*Three miles away from rental facility, the sisters approach a yellow light. Younger sister (and Las Vegas native) tells sister to keep going. Older sister hits the brakes (this car is three times more expensive than the one she drives around in Seattle and she doesn’t want to do anything risky). Jeep stops behind the stop line just in time. Both sisters hear screeching and feel the Jeep jump. Both sisters freak out too.
*Older sister gets out of the car and checks out the damage. Older sister sees the Jeep Commander versus Honda Civic battle is over. Honda Civic loses. However, as the Jeep does not belong to the older sister (who declined additional insurance coverage at the rental facility), she signals to the driver of the Honda Civic to pull over after both cars go through the intersection.
*As older sister gets in the car, she gets a bad feeling in her stomach. Older sister tells younger sister to try to get the car’s license plate number just in case. Not everyone’s insured these days.
*Jeep Commander travels through the intersection and pulls over. Both sisters hear a “vroooooom” and see the Honda Civic sail past them.
“248 VSV! 248 VSV! 248 VSV!”
Both sisters scream. Cell phones are flipped, calls are made, and father of both girls is pulled out of an important meeting for a consultation. Police are called, rental car company is called, and insurance company is called.
*Both sisters wait. Policeman comes and checks out the damage. Policeman gets a call. Policeman has good news! A person at the scene of the accident followed the Honda Civic and the police have intercepted him. Both sisters need to go to the point of interception to ID the driver.
*’Wow!’ both sisters say. ‘Some retiree in Las Vegas had a lot of time on his hands’.
*Policeman escorts sisters to the point of interception and asks older sister to ID the driver. “I can’t really see him from here,” older sister says. “Can I get a little closer?” she asks.
*Policeman advises older sister to only go as close as she needs to until she can ID the driver.
*Older sister moves closer and sees the driver. It’s the same man who nodded when she asked him to pull over. Driver is in handcuffs. “That seems severe,” older sister thinks. “Hmph.”
*Older sister fills out paperwork. Younger sister takes photos of squad cars encircling the Honda Civic.
*A couple squad cars drive away. The tow truck comes and takes the Honda Civic away. Another policeman comes by to give the sisters his business card and to sign the police report.
*Noticing that the driver was taken away in a police vehicle, the older sister asks, “So what’s going to happen?”
*“Well,” the other police offer says, “the driver was an illegal so he’ll go to jail tonight and then we’ll take him to the border patrol.”
*Older sister cries and cries and cries. Her sunglasses quickly fog over (that will happen if you cry in the desert) and she continues to cry. Younger sister comforts older sister. Other policeman suggests that sisters go check out the new Chippendale show assuring the older sister it will make her feel better.
*Older sister stops crying and thinks “Yeah right.”
The fact that I cried and feel at unease about the deportation incident would probably lead some people to say that I was being a little dramatic. Over the course of what remained to be our vacation, the mental picture of the driver in handcuffs would flash in my mind and I would slightly whimper. If I had known that calling the police to get a case number for insurance reasons would have resulted in the deportation of another individual, I would have paid five times over to fix the car myself. As my sister reminded me, however, there was no way I could have known that would happen. Still though… you know?
As our vacation continued and we hiked the Grand Canyon, bought ice cream at the general store, and caught the shuttle to watch the sunrise, the circumstances of our trip made me think a lot about citizenship. While the debate has somewhat simmered, the opinions relating to naturalization, borders, right of privilege and the like have led to strong clashes in recent years. This whole situation has made me grateful for the Gospel which clearly shows tells those who will listen that after everything comes to an end, there will only be one kingdom that will stand. The right of entry will not be determined by an agreed-upon line or birth certificate. As Paul wrote in his letter to the church at Ephesus, “Make every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”
In consideration of this, I was reminded that the current fixation that consumes so many headlines, debates, and airtime is centered upon nationalities, borders, and zones, which will have no relevance when everything is said and done. That is not to say that humanitarian efforts to protect people’s safety and well-being should not be championed. They should… with the right end in mind.
As I have had time to process the our little mishap in May more and more, I have become less and less concerned with whether the driver of the Honda Civic has been able to make it back into the US. Instead, my thoughts have been captivated by his eternal citizenship. Will we laugh at the Feast of the Lamb over our introduction at Tropicana and Paradise or will I never see him again? It is this citizenship that captures my heart for this is the one that truly matters.
But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly wait await a Savior from there, the Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.