So, I just finished reading Donald Miller’s book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years and his words still reverberate through my mind at various times through my day. (I highly recommend the book which you can check out at www.donaldmillerwords.com ).
In his book, he talks about the process of making one of his other books (Blue Like Jazz – another amazing work of art) into a movie, and what it took to create a story of his life that would be interesting and worth viewing. Truth is, he learned that he wanted a better story to his life period, so he began engaging in life in ways he had never imagined. Way to go, Don.
One of the things (too many to mention here) that grabbed me about his book was the idea of conflict causing change in characters. Now, I was taught in writing classes that a good story must have what we call rising action, a series of conflicts that build to a climax after which the action falls into some type of resolution. Writing 101. However, even though we write about life and things we know about or hope for, it never occurred to me that the conflicts in my actual life were creating a better story.
Since this blog(and the book in progress) is about my life, I asked my writing critique partner if she thought there was enough real conflict to make my story interesting. She assured me there is, and as I’ve taken another look, I’ve begun to see that what makes our story a great story–other people’s words not mine, though I agree–is not how romantic it is, but that there have been tremendous conflicts faced and overcome. We started on an impossible journey and watched the conflicts build and resolve as we kept saying yes and moving ahead.
Hence, the immigration issues we’ve faced make for a better story. Thank you USCIS.
To continue the story….
Within just two weeks we heard from America and Australia that the approved application for Brendan’s visa had been received, and he could submit all the necessary paperwork to the consulate in Australia. They kindly enclosed a list of about a dozen required items including a police report, fingerprints, a medical examination and clearance, all the previous documents in duplicate (what did they do with the other four copies?) and, of course, more money.
I have to confess that we cheated a little. I had already done extensive research to find out what things they would ask for before we got the letter asking for them so that we could be ahead if possible. Remember, we were in a time crunch with a wedding hopefully taking place in just six weeks. So when we received the letter, Brendan had already made the required doctor appointments for him and the kids in Brisbane, and was ready to head out the door to get his police report taken care of.
But when he called me hours later, I was crushed. The police report would take 6-8 weeks they said. And that was just one part of all the things we needed done before he could fly to Sydney (with the kids) to submit it all for the visa. We didn’t know what to do.
“Did you tell them you needed it as soon as possible??” I snapped at him. Like it was really his fault.
“Yes, darling. I did. No one really cares. They just said it would be that long when I asked, and then they moved on to the next person.”
I was so disappointed. I envisioned postponing our wedding for a second time. In all fairness, the website and letters we received made it very clear that we should not book tickets or plan weddings until a visa was actually in hand. Of course they didn’t take into account the details of planning weddings or travel now, did they?
“Well, I guess it’s another opportunity for a miracle. There’s no other option than to trust that God knows what he’s doing and will do the best for us.” I said the words more to convince myself than out of actual belief at that point. I certainly didn’t see how it would work out.
Brendan and I hung up, and I went and cried.