What Happens When We Don’t Belong to Anyone or Anything

Please read this book:

Especially in the past week, I have felt extraordinarily loved. I am Attachment Rich. I belong to many people and groups of people and mostly I belong to God, and this makes me feel so loved that even in this mess of a world, my heart is light.

There have been times when I’ve felt like I didn’t belong and that’s the worst feeling ever.

Cole Arthur Riley has written an exquisite book subtitled “Spirituality, Liberation, and the Stories that Make Us” and her words on the importance of belonging are poignant and brilliant.

If you go without belonging for long enough, if you’ve know the sting of betrayal, you can end up manufacturing an identity from your alienation. To protect yourself from the reminder and risk of exclusion, you begin initiating distance on your own calling yourself ‘loner’ or ‘independent.’ But a life lived with trust only in the self is exhausting.

Picture the middle school kid sitting alone in the cafeteria. Picture the sole little Black girl in her Brownie Troop who was not chosen as a bunk mate. Picture the middle aged woman who is now invisible when she goes shopping. Picture the elderly man who drinks coffee alone day after day in the local diner. Picture the new kid in high school who only speaks Twi. Picture the suburban man who was laid off after working for the same company for 28 years.

Being excluded kills. It kills the spirit and sometimes it kills the body.

There is something to being chosen that is uniquely healing,” writes Cole Arthur Riley.

So, here’s my thought. If – like me – you’re Attachment Rich, if you are included in most or many circles, if you belong in almost any place you find yourself, we have the opportunity and responsibility to include the unincluded.

I volunteered to drive kids I didn’t know to a mission trip location a few years ago and I felt like I belonged when a group of Cool Girls chose to ride in my car. Those young women blew my mind when they noticed that a young man who would be considered awkward in some circles hadn’t been chosen to ride in any specific car. One of The Cool Girls jumped out of our car, yelled that kid’s name, ran over to him, took his hand and said – joyfully – you’re coming with us! For the whole trip they included him in their stories and laughter. I saw a glimpse of heaven that day. That young man had been chosen. He belonged.

Look for someone who appears not to belong today and choose them. There’s something to being chosen that is uniquely healing.

2 responses to “What Happens When We Don’t Belong to Anyone or Anything

  1. I love this post! Thank you, Jan. Some of my favorite memories of my time in Utica Presbytery come from what, before COVID, was our annual summer mission work camp. Those teens formed a community that persisted for the months between, and more than one of them said in a seriousness, “These people saved my life.”

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Connections are important to life. During the pandemic, my social media connections were a big part of what kept me going and feeling connected. Now it’s good to be able to connect, face to face, but I still value my online connections.

    Liked by 1 person

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