Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The Desire For True Belonging In The Wilderness

True belonging doesn't require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are.

 In these 31 Days of October I am unpacking my learning from the book, Braving The Wilderness, by Brené Brown. She has been a favorite author for years. In this new publication she manages to build a sidewalk and curb in the wilderness where we can bravely tread.

What does belonging have to do with the wilderness? The most vulnerable experiences test our sense of belonging. 

Let me tell you about my grandmother, Anna.
She married a kind, nature loving man but he had a weakness for alcohol. The paycheck didn't always come home. So she worked as a seamstress on the side, bringing in enough to feed the family of four children. 

My grandfather died after 30 years of marriage before World War II erupted, leaving her a widow during the next very stressful ten years. She relied on her unmarried daughter to help her navigate that wilderness. 

Her daughter joined an American Christian church which added tension to the their relationship. The next ten years she lived as a refuge in Germany, without a home and separated from her other children. She was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the same church her daughter had found, and made some close ties just before  her daughter left Germany and came to America to marry a stranger she met through letters.

She was persuaded to emigrate to America to join her daughter, which she did on her own, traveling by ship to New York and then by train to Salt Lake City, Utah. 

Upon arriving she found that her daughter had joined a sect of her church that believed in Polygamy. She continued living with her daughter but did not associate with this belief. She kept her ties to the original church, meeting with Americans whose language she did not truly speak. 

Did she brave the wilderness? Yes, over and over again. I remember her as a strong woman who belonged to herself and to the God she loved, no matter what others thought.

"True belonging is the spiritual practice of believing in and belonging to yourself so deeply that you can share your most authentic self with the world and find sacredness in being a part of something and standing alone in the wilderness. True belonging doesn't require you to change who you are, it requires you to be who you are."

Tomorrow, some tools to brave the unknown.

Click here to go back to my table of contents to see the other posts.

1 comment:

  1. I love that quote: "True belonging doesn't require you to change who you are, it requires you to be who you are." I love the example of your grandmother too and her strength in holding to what she believed.


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