I grew up in Miami where over half of the population lives with their hearts in two countries. You see in the early 60’s, my mom got on a plane with just two sets of clothes in her suitcase and fled the only home she’d ever known to find freedom.
My mom finished high school in the United States, earned a college degree, owns a home, pays taxes, and votes in every election. She speaks fluent English with a heavy accent, and she passed the citizenship test decades ago. She loves shopping at Walmart, and we eat turkey and sweet potatoes on Thanksgiving.
We are American.
But, if you visit my mom’s for dinner, you will get a tiny thimble of very strong coffee after the meal. Every December, we celebrate Christmas on the 24th – which is “Noche Buena” — with mojo roasted pork, black beans, white rice, and yucca.
I am Cuban.
Eight years ago, I married a nice American man, and now my last name is Dunbar instead of Lopez. If you look at my picture, you might not suspect my true heritage. But, I must confess I dream in two languages.
My parents are incredibly thankful to reside in America, but they will always live with a restless longing for home. And they carry on many of the customs of their homeland to this day in exile. Cubans are kissers, for example. If we ever meet in person, I must warn you that I might not be able to resist the urge to give you a kiss on the cheek in greeting. I was schooled in this important custom as a child and expected to give “besitos” to welcome every guest who entered our home. My American friends like to simply shake hands, but Cubans embrace.
You, my friend, are also a dual citizen. Your feet may stand on earthy soil, but your home is in heaven.
In his epistle to the church at Philippi, Paul challenges Christ followers to steward their dual citizenship effectively. During our time of exile on earth, we must confess our hearts long for heaven. Our conversation should be marked by a decidedly Christ-like accent. And while we may adopt some of the customs of this world, our lights should shine brightly for Jesus even as this broken world grows darker…
I’m sharing “You are a Citizen of Heaven” at Love God Greatly today.
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