Just Dawning - Proving Who I Am!
It all began by entering the process of proving who I am.
The State of North Carolina, like a few other states, has introduced something called “Real ID.” It is also known as “Gold Star Drivers’ Licenses.” In our post-9/11 world there has been more and more scrutiny into ways in which we prove we are who we claim to be. Our state has come up with a process involving MUCH documentation in hand and a trip to the DMV.
Rick and I had gone to the website to be sure we had exactly what we needed:
1) Proof of Name, Birth Date and Place in the form of: A certified birth certificate (no photocopies allowed) or A US Consular Birth Abroad certificate or an unexpired, valid passport.
2) Proof of Social Security card in the form of:
The actual Social Security card or 1099 tax form with name and full Social Security number or W-2 form with name and full Social Security number or a pay stub with name and full Social Security number. And….
3) Proof of legal North Carolina address in the form of two of the following documents:
A document issue by city, county, state or federal government or any document issued by another state or government of another nation or pre-printed bank statement or financial statement or pre-printed business letterhead
Receipt for personal property taxes or real property taxes paid to a North Carolina county, city or town
Utility bill or cable bill
A housing lease or contract, mortgage statement, property or income tax statement
North Carolina vehicle registration card or title
North Carolina voter precinct card
North Carolina vehicle insurance policy
North Carolina school records
Or a Letter from homeless shelter.
4) Then there was Proof of name change needed in one of three forms: A certified marriage license or certified marriage certificate OR A certified divorce decree or A document from the courts or Register of Deeds.
What could POSSIBLY be complicated in that? Armed with documents, Rick and I went to the DMV Durham office for what turned out to be a 2 1/2-hour adventure in patience.
The small office was filled with bored and disgruntled looking folks. There were only a couple of vacant chairs in the waiting area when we arrived. There was a large overhead electronic board that said, “Now serving #H347 at Window 3”. Clearly, we needed to get a number. We both looked for one of those little machines where you pull the presented paper tab and released is a number for you. No machine was in sight. There was a solitary reception desk; an employee behind it; and another individual chatting with her. Rick walked closer to the desk to see if he could see the little number dispensing machine. Immediately he was barked at by the employee.
“Get behind the line!”
“Ma’am, I’m just trying to get a number and I can’t find where to do it.”
“Get behind the line. I give you your number.”
Alrighty then. Clearly, this had happened before and the very stern bureaucrat that must go through handfuls of requisite documents for each and all seeking to get this mandated “Real ID” had had enough. It was 2 in the afternoon. How many folks had come forward (daring to get in front of the line?”) with the wrong documents, with no documents, with disdain and ill tempers themselves?
Finally, after hearing the State employee lecture the poor woman in front of us about why her assortment of paperwork was not going to do at all; that consequentially she’d been banished back to her home to find the correct documents; NOW it was our turn.
Rick turned on his Texas charm. It was getting us nowhere. The State employee went through his presented documents, scowling the whole time, BUT he was eventually rewarded with the much sought after (and needed) number so he could next meet with the appropriate employee.
Now it was my turn. Presented were my Social Security card bearing my maiden name; driver’s license bearing first name, maiden name, married name; and passport? Another name combo! Ah, here’s my certified marriage certificate! Car titles, tax statements - I was armed! She frowned, she shook her head, she grimaced. Then she came back to our marriage certificate.
“Michigan? You from Michigan?” Was that a hint of a smile?
“Yes, ma’am. We were married there. I went to Michigan State for undergraduate and grad school.”
Suddenly she’s actually smiling!
“Go Sparty!” (Is she really ‘high-fiving’ me?!!!)
We had a commonality - East Lansing, Michigan gave us a shared identity and with that discovery bridges were made faster than her defenses and walls of bureaucracy could stop! We chatted about that state capital’s winters; Moo U; and all things Michiganders hold dear. She actually chuckled. She waxed on nostalgic about her friends and family once there now dead. She smiled wistfully as she told me why she ended up moving here to NC. I was given my much-needed number.
Rick and I took our seats and waited for the next encounter with North Carolina officials. I watched that receptionist. She wasn’t scowling. She wasn’t barking. Nobody got scolded - well for about a half an hour anyway. Someone came in with some bogus documentation and she actually looked over at me, rolled her eyes and then winked before proceeding with kindness in helping the confused person.
“There you go!” Rick said. “‘Just Dawning’ for this week.”
The world is a much nicer place when we seek our commonalities and ties.
Frankly we each and all are Beloved Children of God! We each bear the Image of God. Might we look - and
sometimes we have to look very, very hard (I admit that!) to see that, but when we do? The world will be transformed - one human interaction at a time!
In just a bit I’ll be heading off to worship with the dear people of Massey’s Chapel - a faith family unified by our commitment to Christ and ALL His children - within our walls and outside of them. We serve (and no requisite paperwork is required for any recipient!) God’s children. How can we show we are each and all Christians? By our love... by our love!
Might we try to actively seek our relationship and connectedness as we go from this dawning light, the Easter Good News?
Joy in that! Pastor Kathy