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An Unearned Belonging

“Because I had been given so much, I wanted to give something back”

Because I was a new face to many at the Upper Midwest vacation, and there were many new faces for me as well, I was expecting an anxiety in me that comes from unfamiliarity. Throughout my life, social situations have often led to fear and discomfort and this has been an obstacle to experiencing true comfort in the company of others, especially those new to me. I discovered that this discomfort comes from a deep belief that I must earn belonging, at least in circles that are outside my immediate family. I have even imposed this belief onto my past experiences of CL. Whenever I move to a new city, to a new School of Community, I quickly volunteer to play guitar. It is in this way that I, sometimes consciously and sometimes unconsciously, force the hand of belonging. If I am leading music, I say to myself, I clearly belong. I am needed, known, and welcomed. Paradoxically, though, I have kept myself at arm’s length from the Movement.


However, at the family vacation, I experienced something different. I felt loved there in a way that surpassed my own calculations. I was looked at and welcomed even before anyone knew I played music, before they knew anything about me, except for the fact that I was there with them on this vacation. There was a curiosity about me, a gaze on me, that surprised me. It made me ask, “Why? What is different about this place?” One answer, I think, is that we all belong to Someone already, an unearned belonging to Another that we all recognize.


I have been taught something new: that, in this companionship, the unfamiliarity of another person is an invitation to know Christ better. I want to know these people who have chosen to give up a week in their summer and share it with me. They were there, like I was there, because they have encountered Christ in this very specific way.

In the past couple years, it has become increasingly clear that the Movement is the foremost way Christ wants to meet me, where He wants to show His great particular love for me. And because this is my experience, for maybe the first time in my fourteen years of knowing the Movement, I made the choice to lead music on this vacation for a different reason: because I have been given so much, I wanted to give something back.


Andrew, St. Paul, MN



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