It starts so young. We ask ourselves: Who belongs? Do we? My heart broke as my five-year old came home from kindergarten one day with tears in her eyes. "They won't let me in." "Into what honey?" I asked tenderly. "Into the blond club. I have brown hair." UGH. REALLY?!?!?!? Having been the only "red head" my whole life in many circumstances, this exclusion hit me right in the deepest part of the feels. Who belongs? Do we? And it's not just hair. NOT AT ALL. It permeates our whole life. Middle school lunch tables. High school sports teams. College application processes. Belief systems. Interest or life-status groups. Even families. Who belongs? Do we? Sometimes, the answer is a hearty "YES!" We saved you a seat!
You made the team!
You have a thick envelope waiting for you in the mailbox!
Please be on our governing board!
Join our club!
Take my last name! YOU BELONG! YOU BELONG! YOU BELONG! The looming question is quieted and we feel all safe inside. Until... Something goes amiss. Awry. We wear something unacceptable to the leader of the lunch table. An injury ends our season. The tuition is too hefty. We begin to question what we've been taught all our life. Our new job schedule doesn't work with the club meeting dates. We do something unforgivable.
Then the answer becomes a very loud and emphatic "NO!" YOU'RE OUT! YOU'RE OFF! YOU DO NOT AND CANNOT BELONG! We are US and you are THEM! We are INSIDE and you are OUTSIDE! It's no wonder we hide and do whatever it takes to fit in and forgo our true selves. We just want to belong. To be on the inside. To be loved. To be accepted. It's a God-given part of being us. Human. Our crucial need for others. Remember that phrase, "It's not good for man to be alone" right at the beginning of the whole Bible? I have a crazy feeling it's a lot more than a girl/boy thingy. It might just be a human thingy. So what's our answer to: Who belongs? Do we? Jesus' prayer at the end of his life that "they are ONE just as He and His Father are ONE" is serious. He means it.
Jesus' reminder to His disciples that "as the Father has loved Me, I too have loved you." is serious. He means it. God LOVES us and wants us to LOVE each other. To be ONE. Not OUTSIDERS and INSIDERS. ONE. Not US and THEM. ONE. We BELONG to Him and He BELONGS to us and we BELONG to each other. The question is finally answered in the deepest parts of our souls. My soul. By LOVE HIMSELF. I am LOVED. I BELONG. No thing can ever ever ever separate me from that LOVE. No thing can ever stop me from BELONGING to the Tender Lover of My Soul. It's the same for you too. From my heart to yours. P.S. You belong to me, my reader friend. No matter what. End of story.