The Importance of Belonging

Sani - Canada
Entered on February 19, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: family
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I believe in Home. The home is a sacred place, composed of more than just walls and a roof. The home is a sanctuary, a neutral base, a meeting place, a shelter, and a place of belonging. It is somewhere I can be accepted in, somewhere that I can retreat to, and somewhere I can be at peace with myself. I have friends and family waiting for me at home. They are people who know me, accept me, and love me. I never feel alone when I am at home, even if I am home alone. I know that my family will return to the place where we take refuge. We all live here together.

During a horrible driving experience trying to return home, I merged onto the wrong highway and drove for forty-five minutes the wrong way! I felt alone and scared as I read the names of the unfamiliar streets written in white against the green highway signs. The names were becoming very foreign, and I finally decided to turn the car around. I can still recall the sense of relief that washed over me when I read the signs: ‘Rutherford, 2 km’ and ‘Next Exit: Major Mackenzie.’ I had finally arrived home.

One summer day I took the bus to my friend’s house. When I stepped off the bus, I dialled her number, and began walking toward her apartment building. Her mother picked up the house phone and informed me that she had just gone out for a little while. I called her cellular phone, but it was turned off. During those ten minutes of my life, I had never felt so alone. I walked up and down the streets, pretending to know where I was going, wondering for how much longer I would be in that state of misery. I saw couples, sisters, and friends all walking, talking, and going somewhere. I was going absolutely nowhere. I did not know what to do. She was the only friend I had in the area and I did not know her whereabouts. I longed for home because I had felt so out of place. I was surrounded by hundreds of people in that busy Toronto area, but I felt so alone: unknown, unrecognized, unloved. Those short minutes felt like hours; possibly the worst ones in my life. My craving to belong was unleashed, and my feelings of loneliness were a taste of death. Ten minutes later my friend called, and invited me to come over. She apologized, and informed me that she just had gone out to pick up some snacks. I went over her house without feelings of anger toward her because of the delay. I felt happiness; happy to belong, happy to be known, happy to have a friend.

The most confusing feeling I have felt was when I moved houses. I only moved a block away, but it required three days. My home was split into two: my clothing and makeup in one home, my family in the other home. Everyone was very busy with the truck loading and the last minute packing. I had a school assignment yet to be completed, so I asked my father if he could drop me off at the new house to be alone to work on my assignment. I began experiencing feelings of anxiety and depression. I was home, was I not? I have spent many days home on my own doing homework, but I had never felt this way. Why did I feel alone? I must not have been truly home, because I felt isolated and left to fend for myself. This could not be my home yet. I realized that home is where my people were: my mother, my father, my sister, my brother, my cousins, my aunts and uncles. I belong to them. We all belong to each other. It did not matter where my tangible belongings were. I needed to be surrounded by the familiar faces, because it is the people that transform a house into a home. That was not my home, yet. My home was in the truck, moving back and forth between the houses. It was one of the best homes I ever had, even better than the house. It was raw love. We were people without technology and distractions; only conversation, laughter, jokes, and the excitement and anticipation of the new house to come.

Home is my family. The people I return to at the end of the school day. The people I arrive to at the end of the night. The people I long for when I am alone. The people I love and care for, and whom I enjoy being around. We all need a place to return to, and I believe in Home.