Somebody once said “no man is an Island”. Actually it was the same guy that said not to ask “for whom the bell tolls”. That sounded like good advice to me, so I didn’t ask. Anyway, I’ve seen “It’s A Wonderful Life” so I know “whom” the bell tolls for. That’s how Clarence the Angel got his wings! But back to the island thing – the point is that everybody wants to belong.
When you’re a kid you see a group of kids hanging out, and you gravitate to them. Usually they look at you funny for a minute, and then invite you to play. And before you know it you’re the new 3rd baseman for the sandlot team.
But the older you get the harder it gets to fit in. In my high school we had three distinct groups - hippies, jocks and goat ropers. I was in the fourth group…everybody else. See, my hair wasn’t long and I didn’t do drugs so I didn’t fit in with the hippies. And while I had as much athletic ability as the next guy, I wasn’t on the team. And I didn’t own a horse…or a goat! So I muddled through - one of the nameless, faceless.
By the time you’re an adult there’s a name for this whole belonging thing – cliques. Cliques are socially driven, and by their nature, exclusive. That’s all well and good, as long as you’re not the one being excluded. Cliques are everywhere…like that group at work that goes to lunch together. By the way, your suspicions are well founded. They are talking about you behind your back.
And you know where these cruel and heartless assemblages seem to really thrive? At church! Now, you may be thinking, “there aren’t any cliques at my church”. That means one of two things – either you’re too blissfully ignorant of such things to notice, or you’re in the clique!
So, if you find yourself waiting for “certain” people to walk off before deciding which restaurant “everyone” is headed to; if you have to talk in code to keep from hurting someone’s feelings... you might want to do a social gut-check, maybe even a spiritual gut-check. The humility will do you good.
But don’t expect to start hanging out with me!