I want to muse on belonging for a minute.
It has come to my attention that this word needs more exploration. A child near and dear to my heart who is dealing with an incredibly difficult situation recently said of his abusive mother, "she thinks I belong to her."
In some ways we might all feel that way about our children. Did we not birth them? Did we not bring them into this world? They wouldn't be here without us. And yet I believe they do not belong to us. That phrasing gives the impression that they are our property; that we can do anything we want to them because they are ours. They belong to us. A family member who volunteers as a CASA, Court Appointed Support Advocate, mentioned to me that some parents actually go into the courtroom and blatantly proclaim, "give me back my property!" when referring to their children. This is the problem with "belonging to."
Yet we all desire belonging. People can spend their entire lives looking for belonging, being where or with whom. And I think that is the key difference. It is not a "to" but a "with". I know that my family loves me and that they feel I belong with them. No matter where I travel in the world, I know that they will always feel this way. It does not mean that I must always be with them though. To me, it only means that no matter what, there is a place with people who love me. A place where I belong. That's a gift, and one that I hope my children always feel as well. I want them to go out and experience life and flourish. I want them to pursue their dreams and learn and grow. I also deeply want them to know, that no matter what happens, they have a place with me. They can always come to me. That feels to me, like true belonging.
The other beauty of belonging "with" instead of "to" is that it can spread far and wide. Friends and family across the world can express their love and let you know that you belong. When you're there, you're family. The brilliant Applebees slogan creators may actually understand belonging.
These are my thoughts for the day. Thank you for reading them. As always, I wish all good things to come your way and that you are able to notice them when they do.
That near and dear child's situation is all written here if you are interested in helping or learning more...