A couple weeks ago the HBH (Hot Black Husband) and I sat down to watch The Accountant. We tend to digest movies in multiple settings, maybe because we’re getting old, maybe because I sometimes feel like I have the attention span of a gnat.
Halfway through the movie, when we finally realized that there might be more to Ben Affleck’s nerd-laden appearance than a calculator and a digitized H&R Block accounting form, his co-star, played by Anna Kendrick, talked about making connections.
“I just wanted to walk into the gym and have everyone say, ‘Wow!’ I was trying to belong. I was trying to connect. I think that’s what we’re all doing.”
Hers was a moment from her high school prom, but to me, it was everything. To me, it was life.
We humans search for belonging. We yearn for connection. And like “Dana” said, sometimes it’s all we’re doing.
Five months ago this week, my family moved from the Bay Area to the Northwest. We uprooted from where we’d lived for the last fifteen (me) and twenty (him) years respectively, back to the place I called home for the first 22 years of my life. It was a move that felt right in so many ways – closer to my family, cheaper cost of living, previously established network of support, incredible job opportunity for him – but all the rightness in the world doesn’t take away the pain.
It doesn’t take away feelings of uprootedness. It doesn’t take away the chaos of transition, and it doesn’t ease the process of settling in and finding your people and establishing connections.
We also, if you happened to do the math, moved here in the middle of winter.
“It’s been the coldest of winters and the wettest of springs!” the man who refilled our oil tank said to me this morning.
“You moved here at the absolute worst time of year!” A co-worker told the HBH yesterday.
And, “It gets better! It gets better! It gets better!” seems to be the mantra every native Washingtonian whispers to us. I, of course, remember the dark Northwest winters. I remember how spring flirted with us every February, how the sun peeked its shiny self through the clouds for a week or two, how began to believe the darkness was over.
But then, the rain would return. Gray would resume her role as constant companion. And our boys would don their raincoats and lean against the drizzly dining room windowsill and mutter, “Does it ever stop raining?” They’d wonder aloud when Dada’s going to get a new job, and when we’re going to move back to Oakland, and when we’re going to move back home to our friends and our family back in California.
And it’s then that I draw my babies close to me. I whisper the only truth I do know: We are home. This is home. We’re not going anywhere.
Because they too long for belonging. They too yearn for connection. They too find that it’s all they’re doing, all the time.
So, we keep at it. We search for our people and we search for our friends. We search for home with God and at church, just as we search for a place of belonging in our neighborhood and at the grocery store, at tee ball games and at school. We search for home in our jobs. We search for home in opportunities. We search for home in the rat-race of life.
And then, just about when we’ve run out of breath, and tears have started to run down our faces because this Starting Over business is hard work, we rest.
We breathe in the art of doing nothing. We watch movies. We snuggle. We make good food.
And we say, “This is home, this is home, this is home,” over and over again.
At least that’s what I keep whispering to myself.
Looking for a great book on belonging? I can’t recommend my friend Erin S. Lane’s Lessons in Belonging from a Church-Going Commitment Phobe highly enough. Otherwise, what is belonging and connectedness to you? How have you seen this play out when you moved?
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