I have to come out of the closet. For years, in my heart of hearts, I have known that I am a Kiwi: my heart belongs to New Zealand.
Now, some of you have known me some time, and you know that I was raised in the Midwest, so undoubtedly this comes as a bit of a shock. Especially, probably, to my parents, who undoubtedly are pretty sure I grew up in Missouri; Mom, all I can say is: at least Grandpa didn't know.
I have just always felt drawn to New Zealand. When I went to England, I was looking for a place to be comfortable, to be at home with myself. I went hoping to find that in the stone halls of Oxford, but, alas, while I drank as much tea as I could hold and learn to say things like "jumper" and "pudding", I could never get the hang of that little island.
I think it first came to me while watching Fellowship of the Ring. As I watched the majesty of the landscape unfurl from one scene to the next, I realized that I, too, was a native of this majestic scape, along with Peter Jackson and Lucy Lawless.
But it was not just the wilds of Mount Cook and the Southern Alps that made me want to be one with the Aotearoa-eans, it was also the democratically elected Parliament who still answers to the Queen of England. I mean, built-in bureaucracy with a salutation to Divine Rule . . . is it any wonder I've fallen in love?
Someone may need to pick Jason up off the floor. But in time, I think he'll adjust. I mean, there isn't a Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., in New Zealand, but how different could Presbyterians be in the rest of the world?
Now, I don't know exactly when I will be leaving, or how long it will take to transfer my citizenship, but I'm going to make a start right here, right now, so, raise your glasses high, me friends, and join me in my song:
- God of nations! at Thy feet
- In the bonds of love we meet,
- Hear our voices, we entreat,
- God defend our Free Land.
- Guard Pacific's triple star,
- From the shafts of strife and war,
- Make her praises heard afar,
- God defend New Zealand!