I had a beer with a friend a couple weeks ago who works as a counselor at an area college. She said that nearly every student who comes into her office is simply looking to belong- either to some place, some thing, or some one. And in college, we could usually find some of these things through clubs, activities, groups, sports, or parties. It’s like built in-belonging. But after college, those questions are still there but the mechanisms for finding belonging don’t come as naturally.
I’ve been thinking more about belonging here in North Creek. As a bedroom community, most residents of North Creek work in Bellevue or Seattle or Everett. On top of that, there aren’t a lot of community gathering places in this part of the world though there are some schools, faith communities, and other niche groups where belonging is central.
Many neighbors here in North Creek have moved here from another part of the country or the world. For them, the question of belonging is especially significant. Some people have found a group of friends or neighbors who genuinely care for one another, eat in one anothers' homes, and participate in other activities together. But for those who are new here or those who have left their family and friends behind, finding people to whom you belong is a daunting task.
What does it even mean to find where you belong in today’s world? It could simply mean a place where you feel comfortable or people you enjoy talking to. Perhaps it has deeper meanings where people are finding connection and purpose in life. Is belonging all about receiving acceptance or is it also about giving parts of yourself for the sake of the group or place or idea to which you belong?
If my friend is right, there is a sense in which all of us are still seeking belonging. As a pastor, I am interested in knowing where people are finding belonging- especially the rarest kind of belonging where you can share your insecurities, vulnerabilities, and wounds with a group of people and feel accepted. If there is a group or place where you have found that you belong, I’d love to know about it- maybe even write a blog post about it. And if this kind of belonging is still something you’re searching for I’d be interested in having some of those conversations too.