Essay

We Belong to Each Other

By July 21, 2017 No Comments
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by Carly Tazelaar

If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other. –Mother Teresa

We all go through a season of intense transition at one point or another in life, and many of us more than once. This year, 2017, has been one of those years for me.

  • In March, I got engaged.
  • I spent the month of May in Senegal.
  • Only nine days ago I accepted a job at First Christian Reformed Church in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
  • Two days after accepting the job, I was already living in my new apartment with my new dog.

Transitioning has been part of my life and my rhythm the last few years. But the grace in it for me was that with each transition I knew it was only for a short season – never anything longer than six months.

Living life six months at a time is an incredible formula for becoming disconnected. It is guaranteed to train your mind, heart, and soul for ankle-deep relationships and hiding behind masks and facades. One learns to make peace with never being fully known or fully loved in ways that would make any psychologist become concerned. So on that fateful day when roots finally begin to plunge into the earth, how does one cope?

Life is what takes place in the middle of “please don’t go” and “are we there yet?” The stories we tell with our lives are made up of so much more than the things that happen to us. Much of the beauty of life happens in the context of the relationships formed along the way.

We belong to each other. We truly do – in big ways and in little ways. Our belonging looks different depending on the context. Our belonging in our workplace manifests differently than our belonging in the way we treat the lone barista in a crowded Starbucks. Nevertheless, we belong.

More than that, we belong to Christ. Perhaps this is why the Heidelberg Catechism begins by declaring that “I am not my own, but belong with body and soul to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.” Belonging to Jesus changes the way we belong to each other and the way we treat “the other” who we encounter in our daily life. It connects us – it brings us back into a place of consciousness, of noticing, and of awakening. This connection brings us peace, the peace we were made for, the peace that comes from deep relationships in which we are fully known and loved.

Psalm 139 is frequently used as an ode to the sacredness of all of life, yet it begins by saying, “O Lord, you have searched me and you know me.” Before David declares wonder at the intricacy with which we are created, he gives praise to the Lord because God knows us deeply, intentionally, and purposefully. And if we are made in the likeness of God, it means we are capable and even created for this type of knowledge of each other and ourselves.

It’s one thing to read about it. Go now in peace to live out knowing and being fully known. Search with intentionality for connection. Be curious. Hope deeply. Let your community be authentic and your soul awakened to the possibilities of the good life with people all around you. It’s there. It is God’s gift to you. May you ask for help when you need it and be surprised by the community which inevitably surrounds you. May your heart be an open door for others to find peace, refuge, and head-turning unconditional love.

Carlye Tazelaar is a 2017 graduate of Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, majoring in theology. She joyfully serves as the Youth Director at First Christian Reformed Church in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. She is most energized by young people rising up to share the gospel, worship, and iced macchiatos.

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