August 07, 2012

The Longing to Belong - Ramona Heikel

Forgiveness and belonging.  I’ve noticed these two recurring themes in my writing over the years.  Of everything I’ve written, my three (unpublished) novels show these themes most obviously, I think because I put my heart into my fiction more than anything else I write.

I want my stories, devotions and blog posts to say please join us, feel welcome, we like you, different is okay, you are the same as me, you are forgiven and acceptable , we are not better than you.  As I stop to analyze why it’s so important to me that readers get this message, I remember the words of one of my favorite authors, Francine Rivers, in a response to a letter I wrote to her.  “Write what you need to read,” she said.

I haven’t intentionally set out to do that, but I’m sure that sub-consciously I’ve ended up writing what I need to read, and maybe more so writing what I need to hear coming from the lips of others.  I have probably felt this way all my life, but recently more than ever, I sense a longing to belong.

Just yesterday I finished reading a novel that’s been on my shelf for a long time, A Delirious Summer, by Ray Blackston.  I couldn’t always relate to the escapades of the twenty-something characters, but I found myself envying their little summer community.  When there was a crisis with two of their missionary friends, several in the group even formed an emergency short-term mission.  So whether vacationing at a beach, or facing the challenges of the jungle, they still had their “peeps” surrounding them and providing support.

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t remember growing up with a focus on group activities like I see in my kids’ friends and my young co-workers.  Maybe I’ve always been too determined to be independent.  But now I’m starting to gravitate in the direction of community and belonging, and I notice other people who feel that same need.

I hope that my writing will help some of the people in the world who may feel  ignored, unimportant or left behind to see how valuable they are, and also know that they can belong to the always-accessible family of believers.  I cherish the blessing at the end of Francine Rivers’ letter:

“May the Lord use you in bringing light and love to others.”

Posted by Ramona


  1. Thank you for sharing your heart so beautifully with us. This is a 'keeper' posting!

  2. Yes, you bring light and love to your readers. I've been blessed by your loving comments on my postings from time to time. Thank you.

  3. A sense of belonging is a powerful thing, and I, too, am finding it matters more to me as I get older (wiser?).

    What a beautiful blessing Francine Rivers gave you, Ramona. Amen, may it be so.

  4. I believe our writers' groups give us this sense of belonging. And as I read more blogs, post comments and respond to the comments of others I feel we are growing as a community.
    Thanks for a great thoughtful post.

  5. I agree that writers groups like this one give us a sense of belonging. Francine rivers advice was excellent, too. Writing what we 'need to read' is writing from our hearts. Authenticity and passion will resonate with readers.

  6. I really enjoyed this post. It reminded me of something I read a while ago, I think it was about writing poetry, to the effect that in our writing we tend to gravitate toward certain themes. It's important to pay attention to these themes, because they are what we will write most passionately about.

    The theme of wanting to belong is powerful. I can see it communicating with lots of people. Don't bury those novels too far down. You may be wanting to gussy them up for prime time sooner than you think.

  7. Bless you all for you lovely comments! So nice to belong here with you :)


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