This word – belong – it feels appropriate, meaningful, after weeks of being in and out of the homes of family and extended family and strangers-who-are-actually-family and friends. We’ve driven miles upon miles of late, through a handful of massive western states, and hashed and rehashed conversations, trying again and again to be the ministers of reconciliation that we’re called to be. Well, that doesn’t quite sound right. But that line from St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians has come to mind at least a time or two for me – isn’t that what it’s all about, the ministry of reconciliation? Ultimately reconciliation to God, but these past few weeks have been filled with many opportunities, some grabbed onto and others lost, for reconciliation between people.
What does it really mean to be part of a family? I’ve wondered this as well. I’ve married into this family I’ve been visiting and I’m still an outsider in many ways. Going through the photo albums means weeding out handfuls of pictures that don’t belong anymore because that person isn’t part of the family any more. (Divorce seems like such a terrible thing.) I’m a recent addition – just 3 years – and in some ways, I feel the shortness of that period of belonging. I hear the reminiscing, the stories, the nostalgia, the anger, the hurt, the bitterness, the resentment, the longing, and I know I have barely scratched the surface of this family’s collective story. But I want to belong and so I listen closely, I balance in the awkward tipping point between my comfort zone and their modus operandi. Going forward, I am part of the writing of this family story. I belong in it, even if I don’t quite all the time feel that I belong yet.
(After about a bajillion years of blog silence, okay, just a month, I’m breaking the ice with a post in response to the writing prompt courtesy of Lisa Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday writing challenge – 5-minute free write, free of editing and self-critique. Check out her blog at lisajobaker.com).