Place

When Belonging Isn’t What We Think It Is

Place and belonging are tricky, complicated things. Sometimes we find ourselves belonging to a place that is not originally our own, our home, the source of our beginning. Sometimes we find that to survive certain seasons of our lives, we must learn to take root where we have been planted, to find meaning and life […]

A Sense of Place: The Way of the Irises

The irises are blooming, purple and regal like they deserve to sit near any throne in a palace. Yet I found them not in a castle but popping up through the Minnesota soil. It’s good earth, I’ve always been told, rich and lush. Black, the color of the night sky, full of nitrogen. Most of […]

When Belonging Doesn’t Mean Sameness

I don’t like coffee. There, I said it. I read blogs and listen to podcasts. I’ve seen the memes. Women who are younger than me – a lot younger than me- who write books, wear great earrings, who all seem to know each other. And they all seem to love coffee. Somehow I’ve told myself […]

Choosing to Belong

We hadn’t been going to any church regularly for a couple of years, yet we felt the yearning to belong to a local part of the body, to be connected. We had a few friends at a church who had invited us along, so we made a decision: we would go for an entire school […]

The Battle for Belonging

At night these mostly bare walls with fresh paint echo more than they used to, bouncing each memory of the past six years back through my unquiet mind. The crickets and tree frogs sing a melody that is as commonplace to me here as the call to prayer and honking cars was when we lived […]

Selling Out by Settling Down?

Like Belle, I never planned to live a provincial life. I, too, wanted “adventure in the great, wide somewhere.” I wanted it more than I could tell. But today we bought a house. An ordinary, provincial house with a two-car garage and a Whirlpool dishwasher. As we walked out of the title office, giant trees […]

Finding My Place, One Avocado at a Time

I do not yet know how to belong to a place. It always happens in the in-between space of small conversations, the way the light hits just so, or the accumulated miles where your route “home” becomes something you can do in your sleep. It happens when what was “different” from “there” instead just “is.” […]

Ink, Blood, and Tears

I got off the bus at my new school and saw the parking lot filled with cars. This was nothing like my former crowded, noisy, urban Philadelphia high school with the dark stairwells and constant police presence. I’d never seen so many Ford Tauruses in my life. Some even had monograms on the doors. I […]

Restoration After Exile

“This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says to all the captives he has exiled to Babylon from Jerusalem: “Build homes, and plan to stay. Plant gardens, and eat the food they produce. Marry and have children. Then find spouses for them so that you may have many grandchildren. Multiply! […]