I’m a citizen of two countries. I hold two passports. I speak two languages. And I celebrate two independence days. And I am the richer for it.
I am proud to be an American, and I am proud to be French. On July 4th I celebrate America’s Independence and on July 14th I celebrate France’s.
And although there are many things that look different in these two lands, when it comes to celebrating, some things look the same. Each country has ruled that its Independence Day is a holiday, and each marks the occasion with some combination of family, friends, food, and fireworks.
In France, at 9 p.m. on July 13, Paul and I leave our yard, cross the street, and walk down by the river where our little village and the neighboring village set off fireworks from an ancient bridge. On the night of the 14th, we drive up to the high hills behind our house and observe the fireworks exploding on the Fourvière Hill far in the distance.
When in France, our barbecue looks like this, and we are most often with friends since our family is far away in the good ole US of A.
When in America, as we were on Sunday, we had the joy and delight of celebrating with our older son, his wife, her parents (I call them our ‘out-laws’) and our four grandkids—with one more on the way!
Paul manned the grill while the grandkids enjoyed slip-sliding in the small pool. Then, slathered in mosquito-proof spray, we gathered behind the house to eat yummy food and delight in each other’s presence. We even got to celebrate a lost tooth!
But my citizenship, my real, deep down citizenship lies in that far-off country that sometimes seems so close, the one that has a thin veil, a liminal space between the now and the not-yet. The Apostle Paul said it best, “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 3: 20)
There is this piercing longing in my heart for that other world. And often, as I’m celebrating in one of my countries, I can hear that heavenly joy in the laughter of children and taste it in corn on the cob, lathered in butter, and watermelon so sweet and chilled that I shiver with pleasure.
I am so grateful for my two nationalities and for my heavenly citizenship which makes all the hard stuff and good stuff of this present time well worth it until we get to the not-yet.
ELIZABETH MUSSER writes ‘entertainment with a soul’ from her writing chalet—tool shed—outside Lyon, France. Find more about Elizabeth’s novels at www.elizabethmusser.com and on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and her blog.