Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Passport (07/25/05)
- TITLE: What Mick Didn't Know
By Cheri Hardaway
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Fidgeting, Mick shifted his weight from one foot to the other, then bounced softly on the balls of his feet. He could hardly contain himself. He had waited so long.
Finally the woman in front of him was permitted entry through the glossy white door. It was difficult to keep from barging forward, but Mick waited politely while the customs agent wrote in his book. This land had fascinated Mick for as long as he could remember. He read up on its history and studied the laws, memorizing many. The book had also included awesome descriptions of the city where he planned to spend his remaining days. He already loved this new land and the promise it held. Retirement was going to be—
“Excuse me, Sir. You’re next,” the agent called loudly. Apparently this was not the first invitation.
Embarrassed to have been caught daydreaming, Mick hastily moved forward. He knew those behind him were also eager to take their turn. He smiled in apology and dug for his documents.
“I need only your passport to process your entrance,” the agent said helpfully.
“Passport?” Mick questioned. “I have paperwork. I’ve had this move planned for years. Everything I own is packed and should be waiting for me at the baggage claim. Retirement here has been my lifelong dream.”
Nodding, the agent queried, “Your passport, please?”
“Well, I don’t have a passport, but I have a resume and letters of recommendation from family, friends and past employers. I have my birth certificate and Social Security Card from my old country.” Then Mick delivered the final coup. “I’ve even read an extensive book about your country from cover to cover!”
Ignoring the tendered documents, the agent spoke, “It’s obvious, Sir, that you have great desire. You’re persuasive, enthusiastic. You probably know a great deal about our—”
“Yes! Ask me anything.”
“Sir, it’s not about what you know. Here, we have a law—”
“I will be an asset here. In my old country, I gave money to build shelters for the homeless; organized food drives for the hungry; donated to the Red Cross, the United Way— ”
“I am sorry to interrupt, my good sir. Your credentials are admirable, but we’ve no homeless or hungry here.”
“That’s why I want to retire here,” Mick pleaded. “The book says there is no sorrow in your country. My old country was full of sorrow.”
Grieved, the agent agreed. “Yes, I know.”
“I am a good person. I have never committed murder, never cheated, never stolen. I will be a good citizen.”
“Indeed. Mick, have you ever told a little white lie?”
Mick didn’t answer.
“Since you are familiar with Articles 6 through 8 of our Penal Code, you must also have read Article 9 – the one regarding lying. This is as grievous a crime here as murder or theft. Our government cannot overlook the breaking of any of our laws, unless atonement has been made.”
“But...” Mick stammered uncertainly. He also wondered how the agent knew his name when he’d not yet viewed his papers.
“No matter. Truly, it is not about anything you did or didn’t do, or how much you know. It is about whom you know.”
“Oh!” A glimmer of hope. “You will like this. I worked closely with the President of my old country to make good things happen for our people! I visited— ”
“Mick, you misunderstand. It’s not about the influential people you know, nor the good things you’ve done. It’s not about all the knowledge you’ve attained. It’s a matter of faith, my good man.”
“Oh, now I understand! That’s what you want. I’ve been a member in good standing of the Church of— ”
The agent put his hand up, halting Mick mid-sentence. “Not what religion you observed, Mick. I said faith. Our laws prohibit entrance into our land, except by passport.”
Fighting fear and frustration, Mick asked, “How do I get a passport?”
“As I said, it’s all in Who you know. A passport isn’t a form to be filled out and purchased. It’s a relationship – a personal relationship with the Son of the One who rules over all countries, even the one from which you have come. When you meet Him, He writes your name in this book I have here. He is your passport. Sadly, however, this transaction must be made before you leave your old country. I’m sorry, Mick, but your name isn’t in the book.”
Based on Revelation 21:27
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