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Personal & Spiritual Development

Belonging Takes Living into Relationship

I lived in the Pacific Northwest for one year. Everything was so big out there: the trees were so tall, the rivers so wide, the waterfalls so high, the ocean enormous, and there were mountains, too! I laughed with joy and awe. I felt very small and it took time to become acquainted with the scale of things. I needed to know the names and shapes of the trees and vegetation to learn that new place and have some hope of feeling at home.

I took it slowly, starting with the neighborhood where I lived. After a few months, I made friends with the giant trees and recognized the vegetation. I grew into relationship with the particular kind of Earth’s abundance there and it started to feel normal. When I went back home to visit family at Thanksgiving, the old familiar Minnesota oak trees looked so short, I had to laugh again. Where did I belong? To which trees and green things did I owe allegiance?

All of them, I decided, in different ways. I belonged to both places. Since then, each time I’ve moved to a new terrain, I get to know the place slowly, starting with the neighborhood where I live. Not a bad approach to entering a human community, either.

Belonging takes time and effort, repetition and learning of names. An openness to connection where we might not expect it to happen; a living into relationships. Where do you feel a sense of belonging? How do you nurture belonging for yourself and all that you encounter? What kind of trees make you laugh with joy?

Yours,
Dena
Rev. Dena McPhetres, Associate Minister

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