A place to belong

A thought occurred to me the other day – I have finally found a place to belong. A place where my heart beats in sync with those around me. Where I feel accepted. Beneficial. Wanted. A place where I am not judged or misunderstood. Quite the contrary, a place that wants to hear what I have to say. What I think. It wants to hear my voice.

I’ve waited my entire life to feel like I was actually a part of the conversation. Not being humored. Ignored. Tolerated.

I can count a thousand places where I didn’t fit in – no matter how hard I tried. No matter what I wore. How I spoke. What I owned.

And the things that make me unique are celebrated and encouraged – not snubbed, laughed at, or discounted.

This place fuels the fire in my soul that perhaps I have found a way to be myself and feed the God-given passion inside me at the same time. Neither part of me has to sit down and be quiet. For the first time, these two parts of me work together…in tandem.

But lately, this place has been judged. Criticized. Spoken harshly about. I get that there are people who won’t agree with my place, but do they have to be so vocal about it? Are generalizations beneficial? Even if some of their stereotypes are true, they may not be true about me, personally.

And, to my utter surprise, this hardness comes from those I thought would support this place. They come from the same team.

The other night, when I had enough of hearing their unwanted opinions, I began to cry. Once I started to cry, I couldn’t stop.

My teenager came over and held me the way I used to hold him when he was little and his feelings were hurt by this world. He whispered in my ear, “It’s okay, Mom.”

He held me in his long, lanky arms.

Tears of a broken heart are very different than tears of anger, bewilderment or shock. When a heart cries, it cries deep. The tears it spills replace words we can’t find to express the pain.

When a heart wells with tears, and fills to overflowing, in that moment no words are necessary.

Eventually, Humpty Dumpty’s heart was put back together and the tears stopped. It doesn’t mean my heart was never broken. The fracture lines are still there. And, it will probably break again.

But for now, I have a choice. Do I listen to the critical judgments of others, who paint with a broad brushstroke of generalizations, or do I believe what my heart knows is true and press on?

This is really hard. Discouragement is a weakness for me and it can make me quit faster than just about anything.

I choose to look at three little sticky posts I keep on my desk: One from my husband that says, “I love you!” Another is a quote I wrote down from a speaker, “Lean into the discomfort. Let yourself be seen.” And the last one that has been a go-to for a long time now, “Breathe.”

More than these, I read again the Scripture that sits apart from these sticky notes on the other side of my laptop by itself, “In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.” – Proverbs 3:6

It won’t be easy. Pressing forward feels like when I’m at the beach and am trying to break through the tide line to get to deeper water. With every step a wave slams into me and knocks me off my feet. Sometimes I fall on my bum. Other times I get a mouth full of salty water and can’t catch my breath. Other times they slap me square on my back and sting my eyes.

But, I know very well that the way to get to the beautiful deep, where mysteries are discovered and God’s will is revealed, is only possible by pushing through the pounding waves.

I will keep pushing. There is a place where I finally found I belong, and it’s worth fighting for. Any place that’s worth it, is worth the effort to get there.