To belong…

WP_003266

At only six days old,
my new family took me in.

They loved me as they could,
but it was hard.

You see I was African American,
adopted by a white Canadian family in the seventies.

Nowadays we see prams full of delightful mixed babies,
but back then I was an anomoly.

I was the only black person in an entirely white community,
and my parents (as most adoptive parents back then)
brought me home to raise as their own
with no thought of where I had come from.

When I was young I thought I was a fallen angel.

I couldn’t bear to think otherwise.
What other reason could there be
for me feeling like I had been abandoned in a hostile land?

This place was not my home.

In middle school I was destined to date the only other black guy.
When I was in highschool white school mates wouldn’t hang out with me
because of how I looked,
and black people  wouldn’t be my friend
because I didn’t talk quite right.

My life was split in two.

file000921199154

So, my friend, if you want to speak of not belonging…
I truly feel your pain.

The characters in my books are often searching for a home,
a family,
and who they truly are.

And for everyone there is only one answer…
Which I think is best told in a story. 🙂

When I was a teen I hit rock bottom.
If I had been brave enough I would have taken my life.
By the grace of God, I decided to apply to work at a Christian camp,
and although my faith was shallow at best,
I was accepted because I knew the right answers (I was a Pastor’s kid).

It was the perfect place to hide from the world.

Everyday I worked alongside these “Christians”,
caring for kids that truly had nothing.
Three weeks in I walked into the director’s cabin,
and asked the question that was burning like a hot coal in my chest.

“Why is everyone so filled with joy?”

When she told me it seemed too easy.
God could do this?
But when they prayed for me,
I knew it to be true.

I had found home.

I learned that fitting in to this world wasn’t my purpose.

Perhaps you have hit rock bottom.
There is no joy.
You are the prodigal sitting in your own filth.
You stumble in darkness with no light.

There is a place for you.
And He offers comfort,
joy,
peace,

Home.

file000107973924

Have you struggled with feeling alone or not belonging? When I share my story many people (no matter their background) nod their head in agreement. I would love for you to share your past or present struggles with me either as a comment on this blog or privately at my email address tracking dot truth dot kdb at gmail dot com (no spaces and symbols instead of ‘dot’ and ‘at’) so I can pray for you. 🙂

Karen deBlieck

Karen deBlieck

Advertisements

17 thoughts on “To belong…

  1. My father was in the Air Force. We moved a minimum of twice a year until I was eight years-old. When he retired, the longest place we lived was seven years. My life often meant starting a new school, making new friends, and being the perennial outsider. Sometimes, my white skin was the odd color depending on where we lived.

    Like

    • I understand that moving around in a family where a parent serves in the military can be extremely challenging. God uses your past (and present) trials, my friend, for your stories and your love for God is a richer and fuller for the experience. 🙂 Continuing to hold you in prayer.

      Like

  2. Karen, your post brought goosebumps and tears. We can all empathize with some portion of your story, and I cry at the beauty of God’s grace.

    Linda

    Like

  3. Love, love, love this post!!!

    My mom was 44 and my dad 53 when I was born. My brother was old enough to be my father, and I wondered if he secretly was. To top it off, my mom had grey hair so everyone at school thought she was my grandma. Then my father died when I was 8, so I was that kid.

    Why is is that kids want/need to be like everyone else? I rest in the fact that God is the author of my story, and what plot twists He throws at me! 😉

    Like

    • When we are kids we want so deperately to belong anywhere. Thank goodness (for most of us) we grow out of that and, if we know the Author and Finisher of our faith, we are enfolded into our heavenly family. Lisa, thank you for encouraging me to write this post. 🙂

      Like

  4. Karen, Your joy and infectious sense of humour is a testament to the joy you have found in God. From the first time we talked, I knew that I was going to praise the day we met. Your honesty and openness is humbling! My feelings of belonging are occurring right now. I certainly had troubles fitting in during high school like everyone else, but now I’m the only ‘Christian’ in my home and the more I learn and delve into God’s word and His family, I’m distancing myself from my own. And that scares me.
    But God is in charge, He knows this and has it in hand.
    Loraine

    Like

  5. Like Linda said above, we can all relate to some degree. My family lived in Italy for 4 years, returning to the USA when I was halfway through 4th grade. My siblings and I were out of step with our peers – we didn’t know what was cool, what was nerdy, that just talking to a boy would get us teased for “liking” him, not to mention our education had been at a different pace so while we were more advanced in certain subjects we were woefully behind in others which just made us feel stupid. I learned to observe and imitate, always staying quietly behind the scenes. Then we moved again and the pain of not belonging intensified and scarred me badly. I always felt like a fake, pretending to be normal and terrified of anyone finding out the real me. It wasn’t until I went away to college that I made real, true friends and God began to heal my confidence.

    Like

    • Yes, I think everyone can identify with the sense of “not belonging”. Even those ones in highschool that seemed to “have it all together”. I am so glad that you were able to find true friends and that God healed your confidence sparksofember. 🙂

      Like

  6. What a beautiful post…I love that you’re using your experience for good in your writing. I haven’t felt that familial non-belonging feeling, but there are definitely times in life (especially in my writing life) where I have to remember God designed me the way He did, even if my gifts (or my writing) don’t look like everyone else’s. I think that close relationship with God truly can fill that longing for acceptance. Thanks for sharing today!

    Like

  7. Great post, Karen! I can imagine how painful your experiences were growing up. Yet I’m struck with how amazingly you’ve moved on from those experiences to become such a positive, even glowing, person. God’s love and presence oozes from you and shines brightly in your writing.

    Like

    • Thanks Beth! God has been gracious and ever so patient with me. He also sent me a husband that was nearly as patient and loving as Him. 🙂 I pray that my writing may speak to others about where their true sense of belonging should come from.

      Like

  8. Karen, thank you for sharing your story.

    Sparksofember – I totally relate to being out of touch with classmates. I too got teased for “liking” some guy just for being nice. But my “nerdy-ness” didn’t come from living overseas.
    I only moved once and changed schools, but the community (and it was a decent-sized city) was small enough people knew me so I came tagged with a nerdy/goody-goody/brainiac reputation. I dreamed all of the time that my parents would move across country so I could get a fresh start. Eventually it did happen – 90 miles from home at a place called “college”. Finally and ever since, I’ve had a set of a few friends to “belong”.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s