Oneness of Belonging, by Susan Austin-Crumpton

“We hear them speaking in the common sound of the divine spirit
filling us up with the grace of who we really are!”
Acts of the Apostles 2:1-11

My mother died in 1995.

Yet her voice sounds in my mind over and over again with the same message from my childhood, adulthood and even after her death I still hear her saying, “Susan, don’t forget who you are!”

As a child frightened to take the city bus to school alone at 6 years old . . . “Now, Susan, don’t forget who you are!” was her unclear advice on how to navigate the city bus system alone. But, I believed her and I believed that message would save me.

As a teenager going out on first date in a car with a guy who just turned 16 and had a brand new drivers license, her message barked at me as I left out the back door, “OK, Susan, don’t forget who you are!” Although confusing,I quickly figured out what she meant that time.

Holding my precious baby daughter in my arms for the first time, I heard my message for her loud and clear…” Precious daughter, don’t forget who you really are!”

All of these life events were marked by fear and anxiety. Fear of the unknown paralyzing me from action, from being connected to myself, from connecting with others.

There was no ME to remember who I was. Then fear turned from a noun into a verb.

Holy grace filled my being and the paralyzing fear morphed into exciting hopeful promise. Indecision turned into action. Confusion turned into wisdom and clarity. Depression and hopelessness into awe and wonder. Not knowing became a magnificent grace . . . filled with the flow of never-ending spirit guiding me in every moment of my life and even into my death.

We all strongly desire to belong and to know who we are.

From the moment we are conceived in uteri we begin this desire, this longing to belong, and to know. For 9 months we are lulled into believing . . . into knowing . . . this is it . . . I belong in this warm belonging! I know I do!

Then the drama and trauma of birth separates us. Decisively leaving us in melancholy longing and restless discontent for a lifetime of becoming and being.

Only in death do we find what we have been longing for . . . that beautiful Oneness of belonging.

Yet it is the human fear of not belonging that springs us into becoming holy vessels of receiving the grace that changes us. We become deeper and deeper containers of receiving through not knowing. This is the spirit and grace that fills us with the joy of belonging to ourselves. The unknown parts of ourselves and our life become adventures of wonder and promise. Each new learning carving out our belonging. We begin to trust and even to love not knowing.

Fear is a word we use to describe the absence of love and trust just as we use the word darkness to describe the absence of light. Both fear and darkness can only be understood in relation to Love and Light; they do not have any actual existence. Grace, Belonging and Spirit are Light and Love. Separating yourself from them plunges you into darkness and fear. Then you can only draw upon yourself. Depending upon only yourself is the definition of separation, fear, paralyzed.. like a noun!

Finding grace in everyday life means willingly becoming a servant to living life as it is handed out to us. Finding grace in everyday life means living from our relationship to love and trusting in the joy of belonging to the Divine. It is like a strong wind filling the house of your humanness and reminding you moment to moment of who you really are.

This is true freedom from fear. This is true knowing who I am.

Susan Austin-Crumpton
Executive Director & Founder
The Estuary, Inc.