Unintentionally Abroad: Exploring Our New Dual-Citizenship

Dear All Angels’ Family,

Recently I’ve been reflecting on living in a post-Easter world amidst the reality of COVID-19.

It feels like one long Holy Saturday, doesn’t it? I find myself wondering like the disciples must have; “Things are so bad, how could any good come out of this?”

Like I’m sure many of you are, I’m “both/and-ing” a lot. Most days I flip flop between hope and despair (I sent you a report on how All Angels’ youth is thriving two Tuesdays ago AND read you Psalm 88 the following Friday – case and point).

Yet – and I hope you don’t mind me saying this – I’ve truly found it inspiring over this seven-week period to see the kinds of things that have blossomed in people’s lives. I’ve loved getting to see all the different things people are cooking, all the pictures people are taking when they guiltily make trips outdoors, all the music people have picked up, and even singing happy birthday to friends out of tune over Zoom.

My go-to fun-tivity (fun activity) during this season has been intellection and brainstorming. I love learning new things in general, but this has been a really unique time – one where it seems like the entire world is open for interesting and creative possibilities.

I see this time as a foreign exchange program of sorts. Each of us get to practice developing our dual citizenship – our citizenship of the online world, and our citizenship of the offline world. While we’re abroad, let’s ask ourselves: what is possible now that wasn’t possible before? How are we going to be even more equipped to follow God in the restoration of the world in the midst of this season, and after this season? What are the possibilities for an online/offline, bilingual people?

One of my answers to this question – shocker – has to do with youth. I believe that our youth are the pioneers in this brave new world that we find ourselves in. Many of us have had to rewrite the playbook of how we live our lives, with varying levels of success. Guess who ran out the gate ready to go online? Our youth. They are the navigators on this quest we now journey on together – they were online/offline bilingual before COVID-19 ever broke out. It might sound crazy, but what if we looked to them for things like etiquette, tools, creativity, and new ideas? They are the gatekeepers of this new horizon, aren’t they?

Here’s the thing about youth, though – they probably are not even aware that they have this gift, let alone that they can do anything useful with it. When you grow up bilingual, you just do not know a world where you were not bilingual! But that is where the fun comes in – we get to help them discover just how much they have to offer us. We get to show them their gift, show them they have the ability, and slowly give them the keys to lead. Maybe we ourselves have a limited capacity to adjust to this new time. But who knows what could happen if we gave the native speakers a chance to teach us?

So whether you know it or not, you know, or live with, one of the gatekeepers of the new horizon.

If you want to learn how to be bilingual, ask our native speakers.


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