These are but the rudimentary musings of a soul on a journey to understand who I am and to know more about the strong desire within to belong. John O’Donohue cites, “To be human is to belong. Belonging is a circle that embraces everything; if we reject it, we damage our nature…Belonging is deep; only in a superficial sense does it refer to our external attachment to people, places, and things. It is the living and passionate presence of the soul. Belonging is the heart and warmth of intimacy. When we deny it, we grow cold and empty. Our life’s journey is the task of refining our belonging so that it may become more true, loving, good, and free. (Eternal Echoes, page 2)”
All of us have a desire to belong; it is part and parcel of what makes each one of us unique and valuable. We cannot disconnect from it or avoid it. It is a part of the very fiber of our being. Most of us however, strive most of our lives to belong in our external relationships, the things we think give us the sense of belonging that we are looking for. However, when we do that, we leave the internal, deeper, more intimate sense of belonging to wither and die along the wayside. We give up a part of ourselves, the true nature of who we are sometimes in the pursuit of something and someone we are not. We become people pleasers, denying ourselves so that someone else might attain their place of belonging. For years I have done that to the detriment of my own being. As the quote says, “if we reject it, we damage our nature.” We damage who we were created to be and become. When we deny it, eventually we will be cold and empty because we have lost ourselves and at a very high cost. Do not let fear of belonging keep you from pursuing an intimate relationship with another. We all long to belong and to be a part of something that is rich and full and free. I lost a friend to cancer recently. From the first time we met, Ray always made me feel that I was valuable and a part of something to be cherished and reveled in.
I am in the place of refining my belonging; finding the place again of being who I am, being a part of the lives of those around me, yet not losing who I am. In the past I would have done what others wanted to “keep the peace,” to make things work regardless of the personal cost to me. I now see that I damaged my sense of belonging, of being, and of my worth and value. I realize that I cannot please everyone all the time, but what I can be is true to my sense of being, my nature and sense of belonging, and do my best to be and belong as I was designed by God to be and belong. Each one of us, when we come into this world, have been given a piece of belonging that can ONLY be perpetuated and experienced by being true to how God has designed us from the beginning. We are His design. Change, loss, suffering, pain, peace, love, joy, transformation – all are part and parcel of the belonging that is unique to each one of us, yet touches, intimately and innately, the lives of those we come into contact with daily.