The Longing of Belonging

IMG_0627Why is it so important to belong? What drives a person to want to belong to someone? To be included within a family or relationship? My wife and I, along with our family and staff, have seen a couple hundred or more children go through our ministry in the Philippines. These children are either reunited with their family of origin or adopted into a new family. Every child longs to belong to a family. Each child wants their own father and mother. It is a longing of belonging. This longing exists within every person. It is seen in its purest form in a child. The need for nurture, and the need for love and acceptance. We saw this when children, whether abandoned or surrendered by their family, came under our care at Rainbow. The need to belong trumped the fear of a new place and new faces. A sense of abandonment, even rejection, was overcome with love and inclusion into our (Rainbow's) surrogate family.

This past year we've seen several adult Rainbow children, those who were adopted into a family of their own, return to their roots. They seek information and connection. They want to know their origin, where they came from and, if possible, their family of origin.

This is a longing on the part of every person, but it often gets stuffed, denied, or diverted in some way. Not just to be a part of a family or to know our family of origin, but something more.

I believe this is at the heart of space exploration, the quest of anthropological research, and genealogical searches. Where did we come from? Why are we here? What is our purpose in life? It begins in early childhood and carries on into our twilight years.

IMG_0675While looking at family photos before their birth, a child queries, "Where was I?" Remembrances of childhood and earlier years flood the thoughts and conversation of people nearing the end of their journey on earth. The child and the elder both have a longing to be with family. As a child, we try to catch up with the rest of the family. As we age, we reflect on the vibrancy and expectant life of the young and years gone by.

Is it just a need to belong or something more? Is it a stirring of the heart for what's ahead or what lays beyond this life? Others have observed the similarities in the way children and the elderly act. I believe it's more than behavioral likeness. Something inside drives it. But what?

Humanity is fascinated with origins. Many asian and ancient civilizations hold to ancestor worship, or at least ancestral veneration. But if God is not central to this interest, the picture remains fuzzy. A major piece of the puzzle is missing.

What are your first recollections of God? Did you experience something as a child that revealed God's existence or stirred up interest to know if He exists? Think back to your childhood, what do you remember?

I'd like to hear your story, your childhood recollection of God. Would you share it with me?

I'll share mine with you next time.