Anyone who is already a citizen of the United States, try to take the citizenship test. I would have instantly failed, I am embarrassed to say. My wife has not only been studying for her nursing degree but also the citizenship test that she will be taking on Friday at noon. She’s a dang pro man! And by helping her read those questions, I feel a new appreciation on what it means to be an American.
But her case is unlike mine. I am already a citizen, because I was born into it. She has to go through every dang hoop possible to make this happen. We had to file for legal immigration, pay a ton of money, get a sponsorship to come to the United States, then do more interviews and tests, which costed a lot of money, and then proving our marriage is legit, then waiting years for the opportunity to do a criminal check, which cost more money, and then finally the day came, the citizenship test. But all of this that is going on is also a psychological test of oneself.
In order for my wife to be a citizen of the USA, she must abandon her citizenship to her country that she left. She will no longer be a citizen of South Korea, the country that gave her birth, the country that educated her, the country that gave her character and personality. It will be gone. She will give up her South Korean passport and receive a United States passport. When she travels to South Korea to see her family, she will now have to enter the airport through the immigration line, not he citizen line.
Getting a new citizenship is exciting, but also heartbreaking when you think about it. We have shed a lot of tears, and still we are waiting on Friday. A lot of mixed feelings. Feelings that I have never faced before. Feelings that I may never have to experience. It is a sensitive issue mixed with heartbreak, abandonment, loneliness, accomplishment, acceptance, new-life, and new identity.
And the one question she will be asked on Friday is, “Why do you want to be a citizen of the United States?” I know what her answer will be. What about you? Why do you want to be a citizen of the United States? Is it because of new opportunities, wealth, job, family, service? It’s a good question to ask yourself this week.
Never take your citizenship for granted. Make it count. Also never forget where you grew up, how you grew up, and what you will do in the future.
Hey this is Rev. Brian Choi's random thought throughout my week. Most of this stuff, will probably be about family, church, fishing, music, movies, food, whatever I think of, hopefully it will have some sort of theological reflection (maybe).