(3-4 minute read)
You know, over the past few months I’ve been wrestling with the concept of belonging. That’s what this blog is here for, the places of humanity where we wrestle. The moments where it’s okay to be imperfect and in process. In reality every moment is okay to be both imperfect and in process; however, I’ve never believed that resolutely.
The past few weeks I’ve been wrestling with the concept of belonging.
More so because of the fact that I’ve heard of the damage in experiencing a lack of belonging, and even more so, a belief that we do not belong, is detrimental to the heart, mind, and human soul. It’s been stated in many psychological studies, from fancy places, and prestigious colleges, that belonging is a human need. To which I responded ‘well that’s not possible, I’ve never belonged to any space for and long period of time, and I’m fine’ to which the person informing that belonging is a need quickly followed with the statement that fitting in and belonging are two entirely different things, and a person can belong without fitting in.
I should state now, that this is going to be a two week blog post, as I debate openness and transparency with you, Reader.
You see belonging is actually something I’ve discovered to be an aspect of identity. If we have it or do not it can quickly determine our approach into things like ‘accepted’, ‘adequate’, ‘enough’, ‘worthy’. The list goes on. Belonging, though, seems to be the door that allows us access into greater depths of these sought after experiences that really will satisfy the soul.
I’ve lived my whole life with the real evidence that I don’t quite fit into (at all) any of the surroundings I’ve been in so far. Maya Angelou actually has my favorite commentary on belonging I’ve heard so far, in a conversation, when asked if she belonged anywhere or to anyone she responded:
“More and more. I mean, I belong to myself. I’m very proud of that. I am very concerned about how I look at Maya. I like Maya very much. I like the humor and the courage very much. And -when I find myself acting in a way that isn’t — that doesn’t please me, then I have to deal with that. But — the first time I ever felt I belonged anyplace was in West Africa, in Ghana, when I went to live in Ghana…”
Maya starts this statement with ‘more and more’ and I love this approach. Belonging is an art, it happens when we learn and accept who we are more and more fully. In simple terms, before we can give anything away, we must have it first. This is the same for love, or pizza, but also ourselves. If we are to give someone ourselves fully, we must have full acceptance of ourselves. If we are to belong anywhere, we must also belong to peace, and belong to freedom, as it belongs to us.
I’ve lived my whole life with the real evidence that I don’t quite fit into any of my surroundings- yet I’ve learned to carry a deep sense of belonging, the trick is, I belonged to myself greatly, and in that was never out of place.
Reader, I’ll wager, that the human soul actually isn’t designed to fit in. It’s designed to belong. Drums do not fit in with a saxophone, unless the category is simply instruments, if you were to organize instruments, you’d have various piles of brass, of wind, of string, and then drums. You can even have various types of saxophones, to which drums seem even more out of place. Yet, when you’re presenting a wonderful jazz piece to a stadium full of people, both drums and saxophones, along with a great many other instruments, don’t simply belong on stage, they’re vital for the whole show to go on.
I do not believe all humans are meant to belong to one instrument type, I believe that categorizes are wonderful, but only when we’re all invited by the grand director onto the stage to preform together, in unity and in true belonging- belonging to something bigger than all of us individually.
As I’ve discovered my way to God, it is much more freeing to belong to Him fully, than simply myself, because His vision for life, for the gran symphony, is simply so much better than my own. It is also in belonging to Him, I’ve discovered how well I preform when I know better the area I’m called to. This is the catharsis I leave you with Reader, you were not made for conformity, you were made for unity, you were not made to fit in, you were made to uniquely discover your individuality, and belong to something so much bigger than yourself all the same.