A ROYAL MOMENT
It was March of 1983. I was living in Seattle, working as an actor and in my church when a golden opportunity arrived by boat…Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip were visiting! Now you know how much I love the Queen, so you know I had to go and catch a glimpse. One of the places they were visiting was THE SEATTLE CENTER; a cultural park in the center of town that was, originally, home to the WORLD’S FAIR of ’62. Since I performed and rehearsed there, I knew all the best, secret, parking spaces…so I made my way (with thousands of others) to that space, early on a cold day.
I ended up right on the rope along a trail that had been marked. I was thrilled to think I’d be seeing them that closely as they passed by.
I’d been there maybe 30 minutes, when someone gave me a tap on the shoulder. I turned around. Standing there were two impressive-looking gentlemen in “official dark suits and coats”, smiling, and with genuine British authority and accent, asked if I would come with them. The one speaking presented his I.D. and badge, and as he did I could see that he was, discretely, “packing”. He took me in a friendly but firm manner into the building while his buddy stood where I had been standing.
As I tried to question him about what was going on he quietly said, as we moved swiftly, he would take my back so I wouldn’t lose my place, if I could (once inside) show him some identification and answer a few questions. Baffled, I followed him…optimistically hoping he was clearing me for a special “tea” with the Queen for random people plucked from the crowd.
Once inside I presented my drivers license and business card, he made a call and seemed satisfied. He apologized profusely…”doing his job” and all that, and then said, ”…but you must admit, the way you look might draw suspicion.”
Then I saw myself, through HIS eyes: lots of black, curly (yes, curly) hair and big mustache (some of you have seen the photos from then, if not, think of John Oates or Tony Orlando), mirrored sun glasses (it was the early 80s), black leather jacket, jeans, and boots…my normal “uniform.” But of course, to “007” I looked like a threat. Hmmm. He took me back to my place, to the bewilderment of the ever-swelling crowd, while his buddy (“006?”) stood discretely somewhere behind me…keeping an eye? And then, just a few moments later, they arrived.
Standing to my left was a little girl holding a bouquet of daffodils…she caught Her Majesty’s eye and here came BOTH the Queen and the Prince over to me! I could sense the tension of “006” behind me as the Queen stooped to speak to the little girl and accept the daffs.
Again, I’m not sure what I expected, but the person who stood right in front of me was small, no…tiny. If I had run into her any other place or time I might not have ever realized she was a Monarch. The Duke, on the other hand, was tall, gigantic, blonde, and every inch royalty…in any other place or time one wouldn’t have had to ask if he was royal.
Then it happened. As I was soaking it all in, Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, looked directly at me (“006: is having kittens at this point) and said something like, “Remarkable crowd, eh?” (or something close) and stuck out his hand. In a moment that seemed to last forever I took it, shook it, and then they both moved on. (When I called my mother and told her about the incident, she asked me not to wash my hand until she could touch it.)
What a moment in time. What a lesson in identity. Who are we, anyway?
British Secret Security saw me as someone I wasn’t.
The Queen & Duke were not what I expected.
My perceptions, and everyone elses, were false, or incomplete.
Are we who SOMEONE ELSE thinks we are? Are we defined by our TITLES, our jobs, spouses, wealth? Or, are we defined by place and time?
I believe we are ALL and NONE of that. ALL, because everything that is temporary in us “tempers” us. Who I was then, defined by age, place, and clothes, is not at all who I am now. Their Majesties were only a year into being grandparents…look at them now. But our “temporal” identities change, and that’s probably why we are always so insecure about “who we are”. That’s probably why the more insecure we are the more we look to others to define us, not always getting what we want. That’s why many posts on social media are really just Insecurities looking for affirmation.
But we are also NONE of those perceptions. The only identity that doesn’t change is our permanent one, our immortal one: the identity first given to us by our Creator.
Gods love FOR us, and knowledge OF us precedes our very creation. We were in his eye before we were in his hands. We are, and always will be, completely enough for God, perfect enough to be called His child, good enough to inherit a lifetime with Him as an heir, a Consort, a friend. HIS feeling for us don’t change.
I know this much about INVESTMENTS: I need to invest in something sure, and lasting: I should invest in who GOD thinks I am. What HE thinks and how HE feels about me takes precedent over what anyone else thinks…and My experience with Him is based on my choice to accept He is who He claims to be, and to live as I was designed to live; following His lead.
God walks beside us as we pass through each moment in our lives. He watches as we gain jobs and lose jobs, marry, have children, lose family, lose youth…and all the while He says, “…these are phases, these are “coverings”, these are temporary…the REAL you is being polished, trimmed, strengthened THROUGH those things, but they don’t define you.”
That moment in time, when I stood beside the Queen of England, her Prince Consort, a small girl with flowers, and a nervous British Secret Serviceman, was fleeting…but also eternal. Time stopped when we all stood there, none of us were the people everyone around us perceived. We were all MORE and LESS: it was simply a new grandmother chatting up a little girl with flowers, while her husband shook my hand and made small talk.
That scene may be repeated with the same cast one day in The Age-To-Come. In that place, all the temporary labels will be gone. All the perceptions others have of us will have faded to memory, and we will just be the children of God, in His garden, enjoying each other’s company and the company of our Father…from whom all blessing flow, from whom our true identity comes.