Dressed in an outfit overflowing with pink and white roses, she’s definitely the picture of a perfectly English baby. But despite her fair skin and blue–or at least we think they will be–twinkling eyes, our newest grandchild, Talitha, is unmistakably a half-Texan as well. For all throughout her home in Oxford, there are bits and pieces of Texana, reflecting her mother’s national heritage and heart.
There’s a map in the shape of the state made out of old Texas license plates, for instances, that dominates the “Texas Toilet” room, along with the iconic iron image of a cowboy kneeling at the cross. And on the refrigerator, there is not only another Texas flag proclaiming that “life is too short not to live it as a Texan,” but there’s also a magnet warning that “you can take me out of Texas, but you can’t take Texas out of me.”
Tali’s father, of course, simply smiles at the numerous Texotica (numbering more than twenty pieces by the count of one visitor) that make their home plainly different from the others all around it in their quaint collegiate setting. For Steve is the quintessential Englishman who seldom if ever gets riled or ruffled by such things.
At the risk of cowboy chauvinism, however, I think there’s something good about the fact that Tali and her older brother Jed will grow up with quite literally signs all around them of their dual nationality and backgrounds. For sometimes it’s only by remembering from where we have come that we can ever get to where we are meant to go.
It was that way with the Hebrews, for instance, which is why when the Exodus experience was coming to an end that the Lord spoke one more word through Moses which was simply to zakar or remember…remember who delivered you from bondage and brought you through the wilderness…remember who fed you manna each day when there was nothing else to eat… and remember whose people you are meant to be.
That’s my prayer for Talitha as she grows up, as well. For even as I know that she is going to be surrounded by the love of all of her family, my hope is that she knows that love comes from beyond just our hearts– that it comes from the very heart of God who gave her life and then loaned her to her parents for such a very short while indeed.
Long before any of us were born, in fact, centuries before the Christ, it was the prophet Isaiah who saw “a rose e’er blooming” in the wilderness, testimony to all that God can do even when we see no possibilities at all. So I pray too that as Talitha comes to know God that she will know His faithfulness in her own life.
In short, she’s going to grow up as both a fair English rose and as a Yellow Rose from Texas. And if you think that’s an odd combination, just remember the nursery rhyme version of the old song that likewise combines both traditions:
“The Yellow Rose of Texas, and the man of Laramie,
Invited Davy Crockett to have a cup of tea,
O the tea was so delicious, they had another cup.
And left to Davy Crockett to do the washing up!”
I doubt, of course, that the tea was pre-sweetened or iced down, such as you find everywhere in Texas. But then again, I have a feeling that our “Yellow Rose of Oxford” is going to grow up liking it both ways. And even better that having two nationalities, how great it is that she’s going to be a citizen of Heaven as well.
After all, the Rose E’er Blooming is already in her life.