Worthy of belonging.

I’ve never been into politics. When I participated in social media, I’d watch as people would tell their FRIENDS to “unfriend” them if they disagreed with something they said or if they supported someone that person didn’t like… I understand wanting to voice your opinions and standing up for what you believe in but since when did it become law that we have to all think the same and it’s no longer okay to agree to disagree? Since when do we no longer respect that others have different views/opinions/thoughts, etc? None the less, from an early age I learned it’s best not to rock the boat. I was never a quiet person by nature, yet I kept quiet when it came to anything that could lead to an argument/debate. I just don’t find it worth it when others are set in their ways and not willing to hear otherwise.

Anyways, I recently joined an online class. It’s small, there’s just a few of us who attend but I was extremely apprehensive when the teacher told me that my participation was mandatory and that being a fly on the wall who didn’t contribute wasn’t an option… I nearly quit before I started. None the less, I’d already committed myself so, hell… I’ll try… I guess. 

We’re a few weeks in now and I am really happy to say that my class is going well. I am required to “speak up” and offer some insight during each class and when I do, I feel like the others actually appreciate what I have to say and they listen and respond with respect and kindness. Tonight, one guy said that when he had been absent that he realized how much he likes our group and that he missed it. Suddenly, we were all expressing that we like the group and each other. The teacher even expressed that she looks forward to it each week. When we signed off, I had this huge smile on my face and I emailed my pen pal to tell him how happy my heart felt…

I am sure that to him, it seemed like such a small thing… I imagine they all said goodbye and went on with their lives but for me, well, it’s clearly still lingering. Why? Because my pen pal responded “Young lady…You are important and belong…And don’t you ever forget it.” And then I realized, in that moment, that I actually felt WORTHY and that he was right, I feel like I belong… Something I haven’t felt in a few years, at least. It has me in awe… So much so that I am in tears and yet, I am happy. 

One question I often ponder is “Where did all my friends go” and “Why did they leave?”… I had this notion in my head that people would be freaking out when they found out I was in the ICU. The reality was that they “liked” my Mom’s social media updates and went on with their lives… They didn’t seem concerned with what had happened or if I’d be okay… And then I experimented with posting less and less until I stopped posting on social media altogether. Surely people would notice, right? It took six months before a single person messaged me and said they hadn’t heard from me and asked if I was okay. To this day, no one else has said a word. Sad, right? It is amazing how fast “friends” just fade away in times of struggle… But I guess the lesson is that there are still friends to be made and if nothing else, the kindness of strangers can really bring someone joy. My heart is grateful in a way that I haven’t felt in a very long time. To the guy in my class and the others who followed his lead, thank you…

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