Where is My Badge?

Every person yearns for the sense of belonging.  In some, the urge is overwhelming, whereas, others prefer a more solitary life.  The need, however, is present to some degree in every individual.

It is easy, and often correct, to term things in reference to choice.  While I do not wish or intend to diminish personal selections, I will say that leanings in life are not choices in the same degree for different types of people.  Many things in life are related to the personality which has mysterious roots, is a partial product of upbringing and is fallen itself.  Understand that the personality determines, to some extent, the ways in which people express their sinful natures.  This vaporous part of our being will factor into whether a person is a joiner or a man without a country. 

Some are more adaptable to group life than others, but all will need the comfort of the group at some time.  Reasons for the requirement range from protection from enemies to warmth of communion, but endemic in our natures is the need to belong somewhere.  To have commonality and identity.  There is value in rugged individualism and robust collectivism.   

Gone are the days of brand loyalty.  It is less common today to find people with lengthy employs in the same companies than in days gone by.  Relationships are easily broken.  Pretty much nothing seems to have the staying power it did.  People change identities more readily today and, many times, lack a healthy homing instinct.  This can induce feelings of uncertainty.  There is a difference between being free and being loose. 

It’s hard enough to know where you’d like to belong, the group where you’d see yourself, but the group must want to be seen with you, as well.  Group members are not carbon-copies, but there’s no communion without commonality.  On the other hand, causes make strange bedfellows.  The desire to adhere must be met with willingness, and the pain of rejection has dire consequences.

A person can be forced into alliances not of their choosing.  People may be told they should
participate where they’d rather not.  Resulting is a forced unity unsatisfactory to all involved.  The security of the group may not be felt by all its members.  Its comfort becomes constraint for square pegs in the box.

I’ve looked at cabals from both sides now, and have experienced the desire and dread of association.  I know what it is to want in and what it is to want out.  These days, most of what I want is just to be, and I’d like that being in accordance with others unforced and natural.  Over time, the desire to change in order to cohere lessens being replaced by the longing to exist in accord with eternal values in one’s own measure.  This is not repudiation of others, rather recognition of self. 

I wouldn’t cross the street to be a member of anyone’s group, but I long to belong.  Happily, I have found commonality with others in common life.  No dues are taken in the fellowships I most enjoy.  Rather, there is a sharing of wealth in ordinary things.  I find acceptance without storming the citadel among those with whom I share simple pleasures.

Above all associations, I have found acceptance in the Beloved.  I belong to Jesus, and Jesus belongs to me.  There is mystic, sweet communion among all His followers regardless of temporal distinctions.  Our Lord’s is the only moniker that really matters and will for eternity.

Sterl

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