For this special issue, BCVoice asked several people in our community their response to the 2020-2021 Big Question: Where do I belong?
As individuals, we each seem to possess an intrinsic longing to belong. Our desire to belong manifests itself in unique ways, which illustrates the many facets of what makes us who we are.
Each column, poem, video and drawing highlights the different ways in which we all find belonging — perhaps to something, someone or some purpose, but the factor that unites us all is that we have all found belonging in the Bridgewater College community.
I Find Belonging in Moments, People and Places
Bridgewater, Va. – Over the last 21 years of my life, I have lived in six different towns; therefore, my sense of belonging is not tied to any one physical location. Rather, my sense of belonging rests in the moments, people and places of passing through that have shaped my life.
I find belonging in the beautiful moments and in the moments of trial that have made me who I am.
I belong in the moments of pure joy, when your body feels as though it will burst with laughter. I belong in the moments of immobilizing wonder, when all you can do is stop, stare and soak it all in. I belong in the moments of all consuming exaltation, when you submit and serve what is much greater than yourself. I belong in the moments of new adventure, when thrill and the unknown beckons.
I belong in the moments of pressing challenge, when you have to grit your teeth and keep pushing forward. I belong in the moments of crushing failure, when you learn more than you lose. I belong in the moments of disassembly, when you grow to previously unreached heights. I belong in the moments of sacrifice, when you realize that somethings are not meant to be easy.
I find belonging in the people who make my heart sing.
I belong in the tight embraces of my grandparents, as I step off their front porches. I belong in the rhyming nicknames my dad has called me since I was a child. I belong in the favorite meals my mom lovingly prepares for me when I come home. I belong in the frequent jests about my clumsiness my brothers throw my way. I belong in the colorful letters my cousins and I write back and forth. I belong in the pews of velvet and the pews of weathered wood that I worship with fellow believers on across the country.
I belong in the silly songs my campers sing as we hike to the falls. I belong in the many cups of coffee my friends and I share during intentional conversations. I belong in the blanket forts my roommates and I build to watch movies in. I belong in the discussions about thought-provoking literature my classmates, professors and I have.
I find belonging is the most unsuspecting of places that I pass through.
I belong in a game of ultimate frisbee with a frozen octopus at a Christian summer camp in Paia, Maui. I belong in the wildflowers and the late evening sunlight during a road trip home from the Grand Canyon, while we were camped in the prairie land of Prophetstown, Indiana.
I belong in a green pine wood barn, raising holstein calves. I belong in a hammock, getting a restful night’s sleep after a long day of backpacking in the George Washington National forest.
I belong at Bridgewater College, where moments, people and places have led to my growth.
Katie Baker, Editor in Chief