Be. Long.

Belong*

And the word intimidates me, somehow, brings with it the sting of all the places I’ve felt I didn’t belong. My tendency is to seek out a spot where I don’t expect to be the same, where my belonging in some measure depends on the differences. It used to be caring for younger children. Now that I’m not a child, I find my belonging in the front of a classroom: different from all the other people in the room, but belonging with them as a teacher must belong with students.

I identify more with the word if I take it apart: “be” and “long.” I live in the place of being and longing, the two woven and intertwined, and while others seem to belong more in specific contexts, I’m seeing that most everyone lives in this place with me: we’re caught existing and we’re always wanting more, something else. I exist as a foreigner, the not-born-here-one, but also the one who doesn’t have a husband and children to use as examples in the Five Minute Friday postings, the one who doesn’t know exactly what she’s doing, the one who is always afraid. And I’m always wanting not to be the foreigner.

The thing I’m learning (often against my will)? This place of being and longing is exactly where I’m supposed to be: this is where I belong. God tells me to be still and know that He is God, He tells me to abide in Him, and He tells me what I am: where He is the vine, I am a branch; where He is the Shepherd, I am a sheep; where He is the Father, I am a treasured child.

And He’s made me so that I want, desperately, to belong. So that I long for it. I long to have a name with which to validate my own, I long to find the ones who are like me, I long to be beloved.

He’s given me His name. He’s promised that I’ll be like Him. He loves me.

I’m not there yet. I haven’t seen Him face to face. But that is where I’m going. That is where I belong. The fact that I don’t belong here, the fact that I’m always longing? It reminds me of where I do belong, of the One to whom I belong, of the place I’m going.

Stung with the sting of not belonging, I bring my weary, hungry soul to Him, and He gathers me like a mother would gather her weeping child:

Fear not, He says, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, You are mine.

*Disclaimer: this was meant to be a post for Five Minute Friday. But when I saw the prompt, I found I had nothing that I could say in just five minutes. So I wrote this post for very much longer than five minutes, and it took much writing and much deleting before I remembered this lesson that I’m already supposed to have learned.

©2013 by Stacy Nott

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