My husband and I visited Turks and Caicos island a few years ago. It was one of my favorite vacations. We stayed on the other side of the island from where the action was, in a lovely small resort that practically forced my spirit into a state of rest. During the day we drove to the most beautiful beaches I have seen since Cuba where I let the waters of my childhood bathe me once again and lay down to sun bathe on sand as white and almost as fine as table salt.
While there I got to know the housekeeper who took care of our rooms during our stay. She was a “belonger”- a native islander.
A belonger….isn’t that a beautiful word? I belong. Tribal. Primitive. Safe. Humans are social beings and the urge to belong is very strong. As a psychotherapist I know that we are relational beings and that the absence of meaningful relationships in our lives can and frequently does make us ill. When we stop belonging, we begin longing. We enter a stage of prolonged unfulfilled desire; a stage of acute discomfort.
As the year came to an end I couldn’t help but think about the exiles in this world, not just the Cuban exiles, but all who have had to leave their countries in their longing for freedom, curiously arriving in freedom only to live in an acute state of discomfort longing for their return home. I thought about the courage and the faith that renouncing to living in the country where our very bones are formed requires. I wondered when the diasporas would end. I wondered if we would ever learn to live in peace….if the world’s exiles would soon be able to walk freely into their countries without fear of repression, without fear.
As a new year begins I know that I am a belonger on the earth. That we all are. That it is incumbent on each one of us to do what we can so that the world can become a better place. So that less people live in a state of acute discomfort. We need a revolution, but not a revolution fought with guns. We need a revolution within ourselves. A revolution that defeats our prejudices, our hatreds, our own fears; a revolution that makes us more vulnerable and open to love. A revolution that causes us to embrace respect and kindness as a way of living in the world.
I hope for a world where every race, creed, and sexual orientation is accepted.
I hope for a world where no one threatens to destroy another personally. A world where envy and bullying will not exist.
I hope for a world where life is thrill enough without the aid of substances.
Where we all have the space to grow into who we were always meant to be.
A world where we lend each other a hand when needed and find joy in another person’s accomplishments.
A world devoid of terror.
A world where we can all proudly call ourselves belongers.