“Do I belong here?” This is a question we continually ask ourselves, and it is also a constant quest, our heart’s deep longing to find our place of safety, welcome, and shelter, a place where others are glad to be with us, flaws and all.
What we tend to do is to expect others to create belonging for us; we look for someone who will give us Belonging—include us, and make us feel special. But the truth is, Belonging is something hospitable people create around themselves, wherever they are. They carry Belonging around with them, sharing it wherever they see a need.
The hospitable person is constantly looking around for the one out of place, the outsider. It could be as simple as the man with only a few items in his grocery cart asking the harried mother with a crying toddler and a full cart to please take his place in line. By opening his space, he would have invited her in. The mother would have felt the empathy and understanding of the man and would have felt cared for.
Wherever they go, whatever the situation, the hospitable person looks for ways they can help others fit in and feel valued.
We shouldn’t wait around for others to make us feel okay, take care of us, make us feel included and valuable. Rather, we should carry a generous supply of Belonging around with us, ready to distribute at a moment’s notice, right and left. When we see another person thinking “Do I belong here? Does anyone see me, or care?” we can respond “Yes!” In this way, we contribute positively to any given situation by creating a good place for others to be.
It is not necessarily the one in charge who offers hospitality and creates Belonging, but the one who knows what it’s like to be a stranger and outsider, the one who has experienced what it’s like to not belong, be overlooked, feel isolated, misunderstood, and alone. An upside-down thought.
Like a sweet fragrance or a ray of sunshine on a dreary day, hospitality envelops others in an atmosphere of Warmth, Welcome, and Belonging. What a positive way to be in this world! What a beautiful way to live.
Yours for the return of Grace, Civility, Beauty, Gentility, and Excellence,