“Don’t we all want to belong?” -Anberlin

You know what is the best thing? When you spend time with someone and the simple moments jump out at you and suffuse you with gratefulness. Those moments alone are enough to provide some simple healing to a lifelong story of isolation.

I feel like I understand the word “family” for the first time in my life. The first time I had that experience, I was standing in a huge circle, holding hands. It felt so right – I knew my sisters had passed that moment on to me, understanding how much I needed it.

This feeling, this belief that I actually have people who want to be around me, keeps striking me. Truthfully I’m sitting here with tears running down my face after reading a short little sentence someone wrote about me. Is that stupid? I suspect not, not for me because of what my past looked like. After being in basically forced isolation for half my life, the notion that I have friends and that I belong is so foreign and so beautiful that my heart overflows. For me, it’s just as spiritual and wordlessly beautiful as standing at Panorama Point and feeling my heart burst looking at 180 degrees of mountains.

(like this, but it’s better in person)

Except that I am surrounded by 180 degrees of people who are all holding my hands and saying, “We care. We are here. We want to know you and be known.” Both knowing and being known are so precious; I can’t stop my own desire to carve out a little space inside someone’s heart and explore it like it’s a cave. That’s always been one of my favorite activities, heart spelunking. Haha, that sounds kind of creepy, but I just mean that people are fascinating.

There’s something healing about the receiving and giving of story. It’s a fostering of belonging in the human race. I am a firm believer in that. The reason I want to be a counselor is to be a safe place to receive stories. I know how powerful it is. I know the moments where I’ve sat and told my story (when I’m truly connected to it and not just speaking) and having people really receive it, are so healing to me. I belong, it’s beautiful. It’s like an ache that I imagine a flower has when it stretches its petals open.

I just read last week that the same brain activity takes place in both the storyteller and the listeners. How incredible is that? That’s what I want to give people. The experience of belonging. Stories connect us even in brain waves. That thought is so mind blowing to me.

I’m feeling that today; healing through story, healing through safe, dear friends. It’s changing my life, and changing the way I think. I’m slowly losing the dark feeling that trauma follows me around (you trauma survivors know what I mean). My heart is so full – my cup is running over and it’s not with sickness, it’s with so much vibrant joy. I feel comfort in the feeling that I finally belong. My story has been given place in the human race. Thank God.

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