**Warning: this post is a departure from the tone I want to set with THE VIEW FROM IN HERE. But it's real. So I'm sharing it. And, David, there is a gosh darn in there - just for you.**
Two years ago, I sat in a Stanely Cup hockey game - one of the most exciting games I would've ever had the privilege to see live - instead, I was staring at my iPhone, desperately hitting refresh. Ever since we set foot on American soil, we wanted to stay. The country was incredible. And the people; fantastic. It was encouraging of our dreams and welcoming of our quirks. We were in the final year of a two-year business visa, and it was touch and go whether it would be renewed for another year. The Green Card Lottery seemed like the only way for an unqualified professional and his family to stay. In spite of constant refreshes, the fateful words HAS NOT BEEN SELECTED appeared over and over.
It felt like I had rehearsed the leading role in the school production and once again I was relegated to the chorus (the bunch of people who don't quite sing as well as the leads but sound okay with their voices nicely hidden in a group. #gangvocals (apologies to those expecting a sporting analogy but I didn't get into the average sporting teams, therefore, couldn't be rejected from the premier ones.)
The following year, knowing that our time in America was becoming, even more tenuous we prayed and fasted for a Green Card win and again, wracked with fear received a HAS NOT BEEN SELECTED.
Fear is funny though. We didn't need to be fearful. We have opportunity, freedom, and family wherever we live.
A few weeks ago, the 2020 Green Card Lottery was drawn, and I waited a few days before I checked our account. I scheduled it - ironically as I watched a live feed of another Stanley cup game. But I didn't rush. I didn't hit refresh with abandon. But when the site was down, or busy, I came back. I remained calm, like a criminal trying to flee the scene of the crime.
Wait. Why? Was I guilty of something? I had to check myself. I was guilty. I was guilty of trying to pretend I didn't care anymore. Trying to pretend it wasn't something I still wanted. Trying to fool myself into believing I was okay.
HAS NOT BEEN SELECTED. There it was again like the slap of a cold puck against my face.
How do you live in the tension - especially as an entitled millennial between being grateful for the incredible things you have while grieving what you've lost?
I'm not going to lie; I'm struggling with it. The randomness of a lottery, the pain of losing something I couldn't even compete for. The loss of a mission I had passionately pursued for so long, Even the fact that we have to sell our incredible house and the questions of whether we'll ever get to go back, and will it be the same when we do?
But, It's okay. We're actually starting to like our life back here in New Zealand. We're starting to feel way more settled. We are more engaged and actively involved in building community.
At least that's what we are telling ourselves. And I'm pretty sure that is where it all starts.