Day 3: Uncovered - The Sacred Work of Belonging

Day 3: Uncovered

I could ask the darkness to hide me

and the light around me to become night—

but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.

To you the night shines as bright as day.

Darkness and light are the same to you.

Psalm 139:11-12

In Little Women, Jo March wondered if she was “hopelessly flawed.” In the book of Exodus, Moses ran away from everything he knew, including his own self and mistakes, to become a “stranger in a strange land.” In elementary school, I hid in the bathroom at recess. I remember feeling overwhelmed when I scanned the wide-open blacktop where kids played four square and mini soccer games. Beyond that there were groups climbing monkey bars, spinning on merry-go-rounds, clustered on the edge of a grassy field telling secrets. I didn’t know where to go. What friends would welcome me? Everywhere I looked there was fast movement and noise. In the bathroom there were quiet spaces where I could feel closed in. I didn’t have to find a place to belong for thirty minutes. I could just be.

And yet in each of these examples, whether fiction or truth, this hiding wasn’t the end. It was a beginning. I look back and often wish I hadn’t hidden, but it was this painful hiding where I experienced the pursuit and intimacy of God over time. It was in these uncomfortable places when God was present and most comforting. I’ve hid in more places than elementary school bathrooms. I’ve struggled to feel belonging in my bones and communities and yet time and time again, I’ve been found in the dark by our Emmanuel. Instead of shame when found, I’ve experienced a deeper understanding of how beloved I am every time I’ve realized that God is with me in the dark, in the night, in the place I hide away for fear I have no place.

When I tried to act like I wasn’t a real Korean, God would remind me of my taste buds. When I wanted to run from faith communities, God reminded me that I can ask him for more and pour out my heart like water, cleaving close to him in my wrestling and discontent. When I’ve run far away to find a home far from myself, God has shown up in the people there, reminding me that my details matter – that even then, even in my running and hiding, God didn’t give up on me or the story He was writing through my life.

God is with us and never leaves us, no matter how far we run, or where we hide. We are beloved always, and our belovedness begets a belonging we cannot earn or lose.

Belonging doesn’t leave us in the dark. Our sacred work is to believe we belong with Emmanuel, who stays with us no matter how long or lonely the night is.

Breath prayer:

Breathe in: Belonging stays with me in the dark.

Breathe out: I belong to you, Emmanuel.

From the Book: