In the heart of every human being lies the desire to belong. It is primordial, primeval, linked somewhere in our deep memory to our need for survival. To be the outcast is to be sentenced to death. To be shunned is the worst form of punishment. Solitary confinement is used to break prisoners. In our modern world, when we are deemed unworthy, physical gates do not bar us from the safety of our community but the gates are closed to us nonetheless.
All of us have known the cruelty of middle school cliques, high school cliques, college cliques, ministry cliques. The terrifying power of psychological bullying. Mean girls. Ruthless boys. Did you make the team, the squad, the court? Do you fit in? How many friends are on your “My Space” page? Did you get asked to the dance? Did she say yes? Is your picture in the yearbook more than once? Did you get accepted, asked, invited? Are you in or are you out?
Life is meant to be shared; we are supposed to feel “in.” We are meant to live in community, in relationship with others. People may drive us crazy sometimes, but still we need each other. One is the loneliest number and all that. Now, some of us are born introverts—we replenish our spirits and souls best in the company of just ourselves and our God. In fact, everyone needs time alone. Regularly. But in the same way, everyone needs to be in the company of others as well, regularly.