Where Do You Belong
By Bernadette A. Moyer
It is a crazy big world out there and I like to think that the biggest comfort comes from knowing who we are and where we fit in and belong. What groups do we align ourselves with? What feels “right” to us?
Being part of a group and being with like minded people helps us to achieve our goals. When we are with people that love and support us and when we are headed in the same direction it becomes easier to get there. But what happens to us when we are unsure and uncertain regarding where we belong in life?
A Catholic Sister recently passed away, she was 92 years old and by all accounts lived a full and rewarding life. I only met her more than a year ago. I only knew of her in her last years of life. She was poised and met most people with a smile. I could sense that she was a good woman. What I didn’t find out until just after her death was that she was also a Pilot, she was licensed to fly a plane! This woman was born in 1926 and all I could think was wow how progressive.
How ahead of her time she must have been either that or I am not travelling in the right circles. None of my friends are Pilots and I don’t know of any female Pilots either. But for this Catholic Nun that was once where she felt that she fit in as a Pilot and as a Sister in a Catholic Congregation of Women. That was where she belonged.
Through the years I have mentored several young people often as interns and later watching them make their own way in the world and discerning where they fit and where exactly that they belong. They try different things, some fit others don’t. They learn where they belong sometimes by trial and error.
A new book titled Alienated America researches this concept about “community” and where we belong in our society. It came as no surprise to me that people that were active in groups like church, politics, family and others did well as far as quality of life. Simply put if we are connected to others and have that sense of community our lives have more meaning and we feel more valued. We feel connected and are happier as a result.
Today my family life centers around my husband and the life that we have created together, but where did I “belong” before we created our bond and our family? Most of us have our first family, the family that we are born into. I never knew “unconditional love” until I learned it in my marriage to my husband. We met at age 32, soon we will turn 60. So up until age 32 I saw and experienced what I thought was “love” and later learned just how dysfunctional and sad and wrong it was.
In an article published in The Guardian titled; Siblings; what if the bond just isn’t there? The writer states, “We expect siblings to have an automatic draw, but usually we would never pick them to be our friends.”
I never had that “sisterly” connection with my sisters, it started in our childhood when my father favored me over the four of them. They built a bond with my mother that I personally never felt or experienced. I tried to like them but they always seemed to give me reasons not too. When my husband died, one sister stole my wedding ring so I couldn’t wear it to his funeral. She later returned it to me. Many times I chose forgiveness and to look the other way. When child sexual abuse married into our family I could no longer do that. They gave me reasons like stealing my possessions to their last and greatest cut of omitting me from our mother’s obituary. The things they did in life, many times caused me to feel that I just didn’t “belong” there. I could never side with a child molester over a child. Buddhist believe that most people are either our “lover” or our “teacher” and I think most of the people in my life would and could fall in either one or the other category.
As a Libra known for balance I typically and easily see both sides of most situations. Life changes and life changes us. One day we might be someone’s husband or wife and then one day we aren’t, they leave or they die. We have a title at our job and that lasts as long as we are working it. We might be a Democrat or a Republican or an Independent but that is also a title, and like most titles can change at any time.
“What I know for certain is that nothing is certain.” Anthony Bourdain from Zen wisdom of “I am certain of nothing.”
The longer we live life the more of life we will experience, we may fit into certain circles at various times in our life that may not suit us at other times. My faith in God has always been a constant in my life. Without God I am nothing, without God I have lost hope, without God I don’t feel connected to others or to life and to this world.
God and gratitude save the day for me. When I look and act out of what I believe God wants from me I am at peace and connected to all people and all things that are good and right for me, it is where I am most at home and where I belong. And when I make the choice to view the most hurtful and difficult situations and people that have been in my life with gratitude for all the lessons learned, again I belong and am most connected to my soul and living my best life with God at the center. That is my forever home and truly where I belong.
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