Belong: To fit, or be rightly placed.
Every relationship hinges directly from a sense of belonging, from the items we purchase, the people we spend our days with, our deities, our partners. When we are the most lost, the most desperate, we are asking questions like, “who am I?” or “where am I going?” but the whole thing can be summed up to “where do I belong?”
If I ask myself where I belong, things start to become clear. I fit in with the friends I choose; I allow their decisions affect me on a certain level, and thus I belong with them. I once fit in with my husband but time and distance have worn away that sense of belonging. Perhaps that is why jealousy ensues; neither can be absolutely certain that we belong together any more until the distance is closed.
And what of Him? Can anyone truly claim they belong to a God? It is hard to claim belonging when, again, distance and boundaries are placed upon a mortal mind unable to truly comprehend the nature of a deity. This doesn’t mean there isn’t some fundamental understanding or desire of the God, which are both integral to a relationship. And thus, though distance and time wear away the sense of belonging to a deity, it is the faith we keep that reaffirms our position.
So in both cases (distant husband, silent God) it is faith in our place that renews our sense of belonging, even though the other half of the relationship remains aloof. Jealousy (for both worshipers and lovers) is a battle for those who do not understand the fluctuation of belonging. Because a partner finds time with others does not mean the partner belongs any less to his spouse. His time is his to own. I belong with him, and thus am honoured should he share his time so freely with me.
But what about me? Do I not belong to myself? Is not my time my own, to be freely spent where my discretion directs? Certain obligations are set to enhance feelings of belonging, such as daily phone calls. If my husband were here, it would be daily meals together or a long walk but not every minute of every waking day must be set to the task of making another feel special. It’s draining. It is attractive to think of belonging to something wholly, body mind and soul, yet at some point there has to be a recognition of the self in terms of needs and wants.
When it comes to worship, however, completely belonging seems preferable. That is what we strive for, isn’t it? To be fully consumed by a light of God, to become entirely enmeshed in the mysteries of what is beyond our human perception? Some religions even attempt to negate the self completely, forcing us to approach the self as a non-entity, reaffirming that we belong fully to the aether, or goodness, or god, or whatever. If we cannot bring ourselves to exist entirely within the guidelines of that society, we are not spiritual. Not holy. Not good.
I call bullshit. I may belong to a god, to my friends, to my family, to my spouse, but I also belong to my self.