It’s Saturday morning in Fayetteville. I’m sipping a cup of coffee at a local coffee shop, tucked away in a back corner where I can be alone, still very aware of my surroundings. I like it this way – observant, present, but hidden.
Anxiety lingers as I contemplate what it means to belong.
When I can finally feel settled and identify as a local.
When I start calling this place home.
When these people become my people.
When these strangers become neighbors and friends.
These feelings are no different than ones I might have felt any other morning of the week, and my hesitancy to settle in this new place is not much different than any other place I’ve ever lived. I was, after all, asking myself these same questions six months ago despite having lived in the same community for nearly three years.
Some might say that relocating far from the familiar and familial was a brave move. I don’t think that’s the case, though – moving was the easy part. Stability would have been the much braver choice. Starting over – a new life, a new work, a new people, a new church, a new scenery – it was all so enticing. And it still is. I’m thrilled to be here in this new place. Really. But I’m ready to belong to a place and to a people.
Belonging. Is it simply something one feels? Or is it a conscious choice one makes?
I’m starting to believe that belonging is a decision that is made, an attitude that one chooses. And yet I wonder if I am capable of choosing to belong, or if I’m always going to have a wanderlust soul.