Wednesday, 16 April 2014

BELONGING

Everyone wants to belong.  No one wants to be left out.  We long for community.  This is normal, this is how God designed us - not to be islands, but to be in community.

I remember returning to Canada in 2000 with two little boys - Mike was 9 and Chris was 7.  They did not feel like they belonged.  They were in reality little Mexicans and Canadian culture was uncomfortable at first.  I myself was struggling to accept my own culture; with a deep sense of wanting to fit in and belong.  Well, way back then the only way I could think of to combat that painful feeling, of not belonging, was to put them in hockey.  Immediately they began to feel like 'Canadians'; that they belonged.  Joining a team can do that rather quickly.  Some of the kids are still their friends today, some 13 years later (not to mention the added community given to the parents).

Here we are in Mexico where this is magnified.  Not because we struggle to belong, although we do acknowledge that God given design, but because Mexican culture is built that way.  This culture seems to be about having groups. Our neighbours have gone to great lengths to help us find a 'group', a place where we can belong.  One neighbour lady invited me to her 'group' for an evening.  They told me they first met when their children were in first grade, and have met once a month since then; their children are graduating this year!  Talk about longevity as a group.  

We have been introduced to different groups and offered an 'in'.  I am now part of the "Chicas Coto" group.  This group includes a bunch of ladies from my coto who get together almost monthly for someone's birthday.  We have a 'WhatsApp' group on our phones where we keep in contact and send daily encouragements to the rest of the group.  I have been warmly included and made to feel a part of this group.

The picture at the top is Diane's membership card for a fitness club that we chose (intentionally) to join, so that we could work at becoming a part of that large, middle class group. We are blessed daily by interactions and the beginning of friendships here.

To what group/s do you belong?  Are you inclusive in your group?  Are you concerned about those who are struggling to fit in?  Do you take note of those who are without a 'community'?  God designed us to not live alone, as islands, but built us with this desire for relationship.  If you feel alone, and without a community, where you feel you belong, I suggest that you start your own group.  It could be a Bible Study, a care group, a Mom's group, a sports group. You could join a gym, a sports team, a book club, or you could even join a group of volunteers, etc. There are umpteen ways to find and be community.   









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