Friday, December 23, 2016

Advent: Belong

The loneliest song I have ever heard is "Sometimes I feel like a Motherless Child." Born out of the centuries of slavery here in America, it was the soul-aching cry of children who too often had been taken from their mothers during their infancy, and of adults for a motherland that would welcome her lost children home.

Though most of us today do not have an ache that exquisitely severe, we all know the need to belong to and with others. Our popular entertainments reflect that longing with romantic comedies and with sitcoms like "Big Bang Theory" that celebrate belonging to a suited tribe of like-minded people. It is as John Donne wrote in 1624: "No man is an island, entire of itself. Each is a piece of the continent, a part of the main."

When we are truly fortunate, we find that missing half of ourselves and cleave together for a lifetime of friendship or marriage. When heaven smiles, we have children or parents who understand us to all our hidden depths. And when heaven laughs with us, we find a tribe that never puts us aside: partner, friends, children, all.

This is one thing I have found true: Heaven itself is the tribe for us all. The dimwits at church and in the neighborhood around us may think themselves too good for us, but heaven never does. Quite the opposite: Heaven always pursues, always draws near, always sits at our side.


Copyright © 2016 by David Learn. Used with permission.

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