A place to belong

October 13, 2017

 

There are few events as special as a wedding, and at this stage of my life, I’m currently attending a spate of them. In fact, if I’m not at a wedding over the weekend, I’m probably celebrating a friend’s engagement or pregnancy. It’s a beautiful time to be alive, but for many people (myself included), these celebrations aren’t always easy to handle, mainly because we can feel so isolated during them. 


As someone who is yet to enter the marital stage of life, I feel the weight of this isolation most when people say to me, “You’ll be next”, and insist I try to catch the bouquet. Other people I know have similar experiences, especially if they have struggled with infertility, are going through divorce or have estranged family. It can be difficult to focus on the good things our loved ones are celebrating when they shine a light on the gaps or hurts in our own lives. 


This is why I am grateful for community. I went to another wedding recently, and while I still had my share of anxiety, it eased when I saw all the people I was sharing the day with. Between church family and childhood friends, there were few people present who I didn’t know, and I was awed by the way this couple had brought so many people together. 


Through the ceremony, everyone stood up and sang, and as our voices filled the little church, my anxiety turned to delight. Love has a way of unifying people despite our differences, and over the past few years this community has taught me that it’s okay to hurt, and heal and celebrate. 


None of us has it perfectly together and we all struggle with our own pain—but our isolation disappears when we join a community. It doesn’t just give us peace; it also involves wild cele­bration, daggy dancing and the occasional bouquet toss too. And that’s fine—because if I’m going to face my insecurities, there’s no group I’d rather do it with than the people who’ve seen me at my best and worst.


Hebrews chapter 10 verse 25 tells us, “Don’t stop meeting together”, and I’ve come to realise that this isn’t just a sneaky way of getting people to church, it’s actually a way of life. We all need other people, and whether we meet them  in a church, at a coffee shop or on the basketball court, none of us has to do life alone. 


Next time you feel isolated or anxious, reach out and ask a friend for support. Maybe join a club or visit your local church—no-one is an island and, just like me, you can find a place to belong too.  

 

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