Saturday, August 21, 2010

Mistaken Identity

This is not the blog post I intended to write today.  I had one all thought out about blessings and leaving for seminary and such.  Maybe it will come later.  Maybe it will just go to the place where unwritten blog posts go.
Anyhow, for the story.
In July, I went to the States for a family reunion and we stopped in Holland, MI (where I am moving in 2 sleeps) and opened a bank account for me so that we could close my Iowa account and so that I'd have money in Holland when I got there. Sometimes I think ahead like that.  We got it all set up and life was good.
A few weeks ago we went ahead and got my online banking set up.  It was a bit of a tricky problem because my bank card hadn't arrived by mail yet.  I was supposed to be sent to my Canadian address.  But the bank people were really helpful and we got it done.  Life was good.
As of yesterday, my bank card still hadn't arrived in the mail.  We were going to call the bank people and have them send it to my Michigan address, since sending it here would be rather pointless. I ruptured my ear drum yesterday in my good ear and my other ear is brewing a wonderful infection, so mom was going to have to help me with the phone call anyways. We didn't get a chance to make the call yesterday, so it was first on the list of things to do this morning, after bottles, barn chores and breakfasts.  In preparation for the call I logged onto internet banking to check balances.  Knowing my account balance helps verify that I am who I say I am (when mom helps me with a call, she acts kind of like a relay operator, since I can read her lips and the telephone doesn't have lips for me to read.  Often I'll voice into the phone to assure people that I'm really there).  I logged on and tried to check my account balance and my account was gone.  There was no listing of it.  Nothing.  I thought maybe there had been an error loading it.  I logged out and tried again.  And again.  And again.  No change.  My account (and all the money I had saved for books, rent, etc) was gone.  I started to freak out a little.   We called the bank.  Now, not only did we need the card sent to my Michigan address, we needed to know what was happening with my account.
Mom called the bank and we went through the normal hoops of me verifying who I was and giving verbal permission for them to speak with mom on my behalf because the telephone doesn't have lips.  Mom asked about my accounts and was told that they had been closed and a cashier's check had been sent to me.  I just about hit the roof.  I had not asked my account to be closed, nor had I received a cashier's check.  Mom spoke more with the phone.  She was put on hold and transfered to a supervisor.  Same procedure.  I verified who I was and gave permission for them to talk to mom.  Mom told them what was going on and asked what was up.  Same answer.  On hold and transfered up a level.  At this level they needed permission in writing to talk to my mom on my behalf so we wrote a fax and disconnected and sent the fax in.  At this point, the most logical explanation was that my identity had been stolen.  I was in tears.  I did not have the time, energy or resources to have to rebuild my identity.
We sent the fax and waited for the supervisor, S, to call us back.  S. called us back and began to sort out what had happened.  I couldn't hardly follow the conversation since I was only seeing half of it, but mom's face told me that something really strange was happening.  She finished on the phone and explained to me what S. had said.  Because the bank had a non-US address for me (we had opened the account with my Canadian address), and the address they had wasn't valid/complete, and because they could not get ahold of me (the phone number they had was my new cell phone number, which has been turned off since I'm still in Canada, they assumed I was a terrorist and closed my account and took my money so I couldn't do bad things with it.  When I get to Holland on Monday, my dad and I have to go into the bank and finish sorting things out, but it should all end well, eventually.
The relief at finding out that my identity had not been stolen was so great that being mistaken for a terrorist wasn't a big deal.  We laughed about it.  I  mean, anyone who knows me, knows I am not a terrorist.  I mean, I can be scary and instill terror in disobedient children when needed, but I am nothing close to a terrorist. I do not have any plans of blowing things up or setting off bombs or attacking society or anything.
Joy =/= terrorist.
After I had some time to process what had happened, I started to think about the lesson in it, because there had to be something.  Mistaken Identity.  Someone assumed something about me based on partial information (the bank branch in Holland knew what was happening, that I was opening an account in preparation for moving, but hadn't moved yet, but the "higher-ups" didn't have that information) and it led to the mistaken identity. Someone thought I was someone that I wasn't and it caused all sorts of problems and tears and stress.  It made me really glad to know that there is one aspect of my identity that will never change and will never be mistaken for anything else, no matter what happens or where I move to.
I am a child of G-d.  My name is engraved upon the palm of His hand and He has placed His mark on me.  No one can steal that identity (though the enemy tries).  Nothing can change that identity.  I belong to Jesus and regardless of what anyone says, does, or assumes, that is not going to change.  That is an identity I can hold on to with both hands and don't need papers or signatures to support.  And it's so much more important than any other part of my identity, because it's the one part that will last into eternity and beyond.  Praise the Lord that no one can take that from me.
And, I'm not a terrorist.  That's a good thing too.

1 comment:

Glynis said...

Yet another dramatic moment in the life of Joellen! Glad it all worked out for you in the end. Hugs to you as you journey to Michigan. Blessings. xxx Glynis