I got fingerprinted at the police station

brazl-fingerprintAfter a bit of inconvenience, our Brazil ID cards got renewed yesterday, thanks to the Federal Police. We have a protocol slip in hand to prove that the cards are being processed. Should be able to get on a plane now, with some guarantee of getting back in the country. This card is proof that the holders thereof have a permanent visa. The passport in which that visa was stamped is long gone.

Used to, we had to drive a couple of hours down to the coast, to the port city of São Sebastião, where the nearest Federal Police station was located. Now, one is about a two-minute drive from The Snuggery. But a ten-minute search for parking. We wound up parking in a nearby (paid) hospital parking lot and walking for five. No complaints.

Both times I went in to the FedPol recently, they took my picture. They must think I’m a handsome card. And they asked me for my autograph. I must have given three or four of those. I didn’t know I was so popular. And fingerprints — all 10 digits! (I’m still trying to wash off the ink; no digital fingerprinting yet.)

¶ The renewal process required that we start online, by using a specific browser: Internet Explorer. Never mind that the multi-billion-dollar corporation behind it no longer supports it. Do you know how long it’s been since I have used said browser? Why, I’m even using Brave browser now, not to mention Opera and Waterfox and Vivaldi. But IE? That’s so 20th Century!

¶ I do respect the 20th Century. After all, I was born in that momentous era. My father and grandfather were born in that time frame, the latter just barely, but he was an 01 baby. (And had an 01 obituary.) And my phone is still a flip phone of that age, with no internet or camera. Still working like a charm. Texting is a chore, but I do precious little of that. Gimme a full keyboard, bro.

¶ Speaking of keyboards, does anyone use a Dvorak? That has been on my mind recently. Tempted to try one. The MacBook has it, just a matter of preferences. Will it mess with your head, damage your neurons, confuse your fingers? Or that V-looking keyboard to make typing more comfortable? But then you’d have to carry it around with your laptop. In the near future, which has already come, carrying less is better.

¶ The moral and economic decline of the American giant continues and, says this prophetic voice with all certainty, has now been accelerated. I have friends in Brazil who are leaving or have left the country, so disgusted are they with events here. I wonder if I will see American friends do that. The problem is, where will they go? I don’t see other nations offering anything much better in the world. I will wait and go to where our heavenly citizenship is.

¶ I chose to live in a different country because of its need for the gospel, not for the comfort of me and my family. I looked for opportunities to proclaim God’s Good News, rather than a chance for an easier or more free lifestyle. Isn’t that what Christians do?

Hardship comes with the territory. The follower of Christ follows him in his suffering, before he follows in his glory. The cross before the crown, says the old hymn. I had hoped that in old age things might get a bit easier. Apparently not. The same struggles harass, the same concerns nip at the heels.

¶ All the while, life narrows to a simpler and clearer choice. It was always simple. With time, however, the eyes make it out in sharper outline. Perhaps God gives greater grace to see how stark are the options of that choice.

¶ Speaking of getting easier in old age, the Federal Police gives you an ID card good for life if you’re 60 or older. We just missed that privilege. Maybe next time, when this one expires in 10-20 years. (The old one was good for 20, I think.) At least, it won’t be long before I can use the parking spaces for idosos. And go to the express line in the bank for gray hairs. (But a driver’s license is good for less time, what’s with that?)

Best of all is being in the express line for those gates that swing outward never and being issued that heavenly ID card that lets you live and move and park anywhere you want.

For how their Brazil ID card relates to the Mathenys’ permanent visa situation, see here.