A word of warning: this will initially be a five-minute Friday challenge (yay for Ruth Ayres & Lisa Jo Baker), but as this has been on my brain lately, I may go on after the 5 minutes...
I had imagined belonging to be easier. Aided by TV shows that demonstrated moving only involved a scene change, and that all your friends (with the occasional instant new one or guest star from the old show) came with you. Moving to Portland was going to be like that: an artsy, foodie, bookish town on the coast where I would blend seamlessly into a group of intellectual, funny, compassionate people who would love me instantly as we shared microbrews and Shakespeare.
It will be seven years in October, and I've had this community I was aching for... for about four. I didn't see it then, and couldn't see it as it was happening, but moving is easy; meeting people is unavoidable; belonging is hard. It was two years before I had someone local who I felt like I could call in the middle of the night with a broken heart. It was longer before I had a local family I now spend Christmas with. It was only recently that I caught myself, stopping for a moment in the midst of a church picnic, being thoroughly submersed in a place of laughter, of acceptance, of imperfection, but most of all of belonging.
And that's the rub we want to skip over: belonging is being known--and that means being real. No masks, no pretending, no faking it. Real community, real belonging comes from vulnerability.
I'll write the other bit separately, I suppose, to avoid novel-lengths... :)
Thanks for visiting!