Can you name three places you belong?

Belonging is such a strange thing. I’ve struggle with feeling I belong somewhere. Or that I don’t belong somewhere. 

The older I get the more I realize you belong to people, not places. 

It’s hard moving around when you’re trying to build a life that prioritizes people and relationships. But it’s not just people moving around. My friends who have lived in the same place their entire lives all struggle with belonging and finding connection. 

For me, the problem begins when I measure belonging on my ability to connect to others with ease. Because nearly all the time relationships are uphill. They take work. 

I try to find people like me. It’s often a bit easier and maybe I think if people are like me, I must be okay. 

I feel out people, stumble through awkward conversation and feel disappointed if we didn’t connect. 

But what is at the heart of the connection? Inclusiveness. 

I’m really good at excluding. People who are too loud, too quiet, too popular, too antisocial, too young, too old, have too many problems, have no problems. The list could go on but it’s mostly based on my insecurities. 

I might automatically exclude people who don’t think like me, who don’t like chocolate and people who use the hashtag #firstworldproblems. 

Inclusiveness means you welcome all with open arms. 

I want to have the kind of eyes that see everyone and think they belong to me because I believe if I can’t see others as belonging to me, I will never belong to them. 

I want to collect people the way the ocean collects shells. 

All shapes. 

All colors. 

All sizes. 

All Beautiful. 

I want to find connection with people not based on how much common ground we have but because we both have a beating heart.

Right now I think this looks like a lot of awkward conversations, a lot of asking questions and a lot of inviting. But mostly a lot of grace.