Are You Accepted/Rejected?
We hold a status in society – married or divorced, stay-at-home mom or working mom, white collar or blue collar, successful or on welfare, home owner or homeless, physically fit or disabled, black or white.
If you’ve ever changed from one status to another you may know the sting of judgment that others pass on a group.
When my husband left and I was still in our absolutely wonderful home a next-door neighbor said to me, “It must be hard to have failed at a marriage.” It stung. I didn’t consider myself a failure. My status had changed but I was the same person. I knew then, however, that others would see me differently. People just do. People classify. It’s us and them. Somehow this makes us feel safe or better than the “others.” If we can separate us we feel superior in some way to them.
We all do it. Consider these: Catholic or protestant, Christian or Muslim, gay or straight, fit or fat, smoker or nonsmoker. We like to fit in. We like to belong. And so often we look down on the others, those who don’t belong.
I can’t watch news 24/7. It is distressing. Our world is a mess and I wish I could say it’s getting better. On this blog I try to give upbeat answers to problems that women face. One of the issues, as I see it, is our overall lack of compassion for others and our unwillingness to be understanding or at the very least forgiving.
When I read the following piece on Facebook I was relieved that someone put into words my thoughts.
Passing on some words of wisdom:
For all of you who aren’t sure, it is possible to be gay and Christian. It’s also possible to believe in God and science. It is possible to be pro-choice and anti-abortion. It is equally possible to be a feminist and love and respect men. It’s possible to have privilege and be discriminated against, to be poor and have a rich life, to not have a job and still have money. It is possible to believe in sensible gun control legislation and still believe in one’s right to defend one’s self, family, and property, it’s possible to be anti-war and pro-military. It is possible to love thy neighbor and despise his actions. It is possible to advocate Black Lives Matter and still be pro police. It is possible to not have an education and be brilliant. It is possible to be Muslim and also suffer at the hands of terrorists. It is possible to be a non-American fighting for the American dream. It is possible to be different and the same. We are all walking contradictions of what “normal” looks like. Let humanity and love win. -Author unknown
I know some of you will not agree with me on one or more of these issues. Feel free to share your thoughts. I am a Tough Old Bird and I can take it.
Belonging is a basic human need. Brené Brown says in her book, The Gifts of Imperfection, “A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all women, men, and children. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don’t function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick. There are certainly other causes of illness, numbing, and hurt, but the absence of love and belonging will always lead to suffering.”
I like what Richard Rohr says, “Everyone belongs.” In his book, Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer, he states, “I understand anew why Jesus seemed to think that the expelled ones had a head start in understanding his message. Usually they have been expelled from what was unreal anyway—the imperial systems of culture, which demand ‘in’ people and ‘out’ people, victors and victims. In God’s reign ‘everything belongs,’ even the broken and poor parts.”
I never got used to checking the “divorced” box on forms. I did feel at least some element of shame. Divorced isn’t the group that I wanted to belong to. I’m sorry to say that some churches still do discriminate even though almost half of the population is or has been divorced.
I long for a world where everyone belongs. I’ve seen many positive changes, especially for the disabled, some acceptance of our gay citizens. Yet we have continuing racial problems, a lack of acceptance for other religions, and cultures we do not care to understand.
I may have known the sting of being divorced but I never experienced the brutal discrimination my black friends have.
Today I will do my part to create a world in which everyone belongs. I hope you will too.
“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.” – G.K. Chesterton, What’s Wrong with the World
#richardrohr #everyonebelongs #brenebrown #racialdiscrimination
Gail raised three children as a single mother before she remarried. She has experienced the potholes, pests, and perils of being the single head-of-household. As an educator in regular and special education for twenty years she knows a great deal about child development and how to handle kids. She is the founder of SMORE for Women, a nonprofit whose goal is Single Moms, Overjoyed, Rejuvenated, and Empowered. She is a Certified Professional Coach and her stories have been published in several Christian books and magazines. Her book, Living Learning Loving is available on CreateSpace, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble online.
WOW!..I am on the other side of the coin…divorced, no kids…I get the gamut from the piteous looks to ..How did you manage to have no kids??? What I want to know is how do people manage to survive alone WITH kids?????
It’s not easy, as you can imagine. One reason I do this blog. I did it and lived to help others through it.
This is a wonderful article, Gail, and I will certainly share it from my Facebook page. Belonging helps give us a sense of belonging and purpose, and it helps us to look beyond ourselves. You and I have walked many of the same roads. Others will benefit greatly from our shared experiences. Having moved away from our comfort zones by moving to North Carolina, I can relate to searching for a new way to belong. Good luck in broadening your scope of outreach. Wish I were there to help. You are in my prayers.
I wish you were here too. Belonging is a lifelong process, don’t you think? Seems that each stage we go through creates its own new place for belonging.
This…..This is a good one mom. In all these years, I never once stopped to consider that you had to check “that” box; perhaps, because you and my nana have raised me too just respect people for who they are. I appreciate that you kept me and (those boys, ha!) ‘unboxed’, but free to explore the value of a person…for whom they are.
Thanks, dear one.