While I’m looking for full-time work, I’ve spent a lot of time hanging out at a local park so that I’m not always stuck inside. I sit by one of the little creeks with my laptop and some books and my thoughts. I search job boards, I read, I ponder life’s greatest mysteries. Or sometimes I lie back on my blanket and just watch the clouds drift by overhead. There’s something magical about a cloud in the shape of a dragon…I just know one of these days it’s going to swoop down and give me a ride.
So I was watching the clouds one day a few weeks ago, and suddenly a duck crash-landed about a foot away from my face. She just stood there staring at me, and I at her. I was the first to break form. Hey, girl, I said. Why’d you leave the flock? She gave me a few sullen quacks before slipping into the creek beside me, where she restlessly swam alone in circles, looking as though she wasn’t sure where she belonged. I understand, I said. I’ve never really been able to figure out where I belong either.
As a young girl, I was the kid who doused herself with Love’s Baby Soft perfume and lip balm, and then climbed trees and rode skateboards with the neighborhood boys.
I was the teenager who hung out with both the nerds (fight Primetime–read a book!) and the partiers (someone had to hold their hair back as they puked).
As a college student who never lived on dorm, I never felt like I belonged on campus.
I am a conservative Christian who liberally favors social justice and love, and…well, that would be a whole blog post by itself.
I am neither a Republican nor a Democrat.
As an introvert, I don’t belong in big groups and walking into new situations can sometimes make me cower in the corner. But I also desperately need connection and hugs and conversation.
And so on and so forth.
Where in the world do I fit in the puzzle of life? I wish I could say that I’m the type of person who just lives life with reckless abandon and doesn’t care about fitting in anywhere, but that would be a lie. I’m glad that square pegs don’t fit into round holes, because I truly don’t want to just be like everyone else. And I’m more like an heptagon than a square. But I do want to belong somewhere.
So I just tried to blend in with my surroundings for years, hoping one day something would just “click” and provide me with instant knowledge of where I belonged. But eventually I learned what my beloved C.S. Lewis said best:
If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.
This world is not really home…at least, it’s not the home God intended. We’re living in the twilight, somewhere between the sunrise and sunset. And I’m just a shadow of who I was really meant to be, caught in the in-between. I’m never *really* going to belong here.
But each day as I continue to move forward and to grow, hopefully I’m a little less like the shadow and a little more like the real me. Life is messy and hard and exhausting, but it’s also a grand and beautiful adventure that amazes me every day. My puzzle piece might be a little more jagged than some others, but it’s the piece I’ve been given and I’m thankful for it. Someday it’s going to fit perfectly.