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Belonging

21 Sep

There is an elderly couple in my neighborhood that walk together every day.  When they go out they both wear gloves and carry plastic grocery sacks with them.  As they walk along, they pick up any litter they see.  The neighborhood is in good repair and most people take care of their property but there is still some litter blown around and they take it upon themselves each day to pick it up.  They are part of our community and this is their way of helping out.  Community is something most of us appreciate but seems to be getting lost in this day of technical overload.  It’s the feeling that we belong to a group where we know one another, and look out for one another.  More and more it seems people are forgetting to converse with their neighbors, get to know those around them, and build a sense of community.  A lot of us are stuck on our smartphones or computers and neglect personal interaction.  But personal interaction is important.  We all want to feel like we belong, and the only way that can happen is if we look up, and speak up.

There is great worth in getting to know those who live and work around us.  If we take the time to build relationships with them, they become our friends and are no longer strangers.  Then if something happens that affects us, we can support one another, help one another, and be there when needed.  Working together toward a common goal can help build those relationships.  If we get involved and extend ourselves to help out with regional and area projects, we’ll have the opportunity to meet others who are joining in.  The more people we meet around us, the more we build relationships, and the more sense of belonging we’ll feel.

There is a saying that no man is an island.  It’s true.  None of us is alone throughout our entire existence.  People come and go around us, and if we take the time to interact with them, say hello, and get to know them, we will feel more connected.  When we feel more connected our sense of belonging increases.  Of course, if want to we can certainly keep to ourselves, look down when we pass others, look away when someone looks at us, and keep our focus just on our own lives.  But if we do that we miss the great opportunity to share who we are with those around us.  We all have personal gifts, and special behavior traits unique to each of us.  Those gifts and traits can embellish the lives of those around us.  Even on our worst day, if someone smiles and says hello, we are lifted.  And we can offer the same to others.  We’re all in this together.  It’s a great blessing to share ourselves and allow others into our lives.

Today if you’ve been focusing on yourself and your life, try to remember those around you.  You have a lot to offer, and your smile and simple “hello” may lift someone else’s day, and open the door to a new relationship.  Take the time to get to know those you see regularly, and extend yourself to build those relationships.  It’s better to be surrounded by friends than strangers.  You have the power to make that happen.  Share yourself with those around you.  You have a lot to offer and they’ll be happy to know you.  Make it point to belong and include others in your life.

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