Friday, November 5, 2010

The Power of Belonging

I see a lot of road kill on my way to Plum Grove. Makes me wonder about the value of a critter’s life. From the day he was born until the day the vultures swoop in, what’s his life been worth? Is anyone grieving his loss? Will the forest miss him? I know the buzzards are happy, but does anyone else care that this has happened?
What makes a life valuable? Belonging. As long as we sense we belong we do pretty well. Whenever we no longer sense we belong we usually disappear, in one way or another.
Life is a web of connections. Whenever we lose connection, we lose the sense of belonging. Why do marriages dissolve? Why do friendships disintegrate? Why do we lose interest in church? Somewhere back upstream we lost our connection and with it the power of belonging. Once that is lost we typically walk away.
If you are around death much, especially around those who linger long, you’ll notice their friends and family begin to withdraw. It’s the quiet disconnect. It’s like a pre-grief phase that helps the griever realize the person no longer belongs here but someplace else. It’s during that phase that we stop praying for healing and start praying for God’s mercy.
Some people you meet have already disconnected. They have been forced out or simply chose to walk out of life and no longer find any value in it. Buzzards follow them wherever they go. What do they need? First of all the abundant life Jesus promised. A relationship with a million people less a relationship with God is life without abundance. That life’s default setting is gnawing incompletion. Jesus fills the void. Second, they need the millions, or two or three at best. We are made for relationship. We need others with whom we can share life. We need each other’s friendship.
Lord, I am so glad I belong to You, to my family, to my friends, to my church. Thank you for connecting me to sources that show it’s still worth me being here.

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