When I think of Week 7 Belong, there’s no denying it, Pat Benatar fills my head. Go ahead sing it along with me.
“We belong to the light, we belong to the thunder
We belong to the sound of the words we’ve both fallen under
Whatever we deny or embrace for worse or for better
We belong, we belong, we belong together”
However, I don’t think Blue Zones researchers thought of Pat when they listed Belong. They actually were thinking of Community which in some sources that’s how the Power 9 is listed. Whatever you call it though Belong or Community; We need it.
Here’s what the Blue Zones Project website writes:
All but five of the 263 centenarians we interviewed belonged to some faith-based community. Denomination doesn’t seem to matter. Research shows that attending faith-based services four times per month will add 4-14 years of life expectancy
If you’ve been following my blog, you’re probably aware I’m Catholic. But this site isn’t about God, nor my desire for all my readers to become Catholic. For years and years I was one of those “spiritual but not religious types”. In fact, I was slightly turned off by organized religion.
But I met a man who was Catholic (actually several, but this Catholic one stuck). And I met a Priest who understood me. Bottom line for me, religion is a very personal thing. It’s not about the people in the pew or a guy in a pulpit. It’s about a deeper relationship (actually the deepest) that one has to figure out on his/her own.
HOWEVER, what I would have never predicted choosing a faith, was that it came with this Community that opened its arms and heart to me.
It happened first during RCIA classes (The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults). Initially I thought, I have NOTHING in common with this group of people that were only there to support me. To nourish me. To comfort me. To pray for me. But that all changed within 8 months.
It’s the craziest thing to think when one picks a religious organization to belong to, that you immediately belong to something much bigger. Especially if they do something as simple as attend a service weekly for 1-2 hours.
I cannot tell you how many times when I walk into a Patients room do I hear “I know you from church!” Then they tell me feel good stories about how they love watching my children during mass (while I cringe. EVERYONE knows when we attend church.)
And then it never fails, one of us (the Patient, their family or myself) will end the conversation with “If ever you need something…” And it’s Sincere. Not just words.
The other part that is awe inspiring to me as a Catholic is that it’s the same everywhere! The same mass readings on the same day, the same prayers, the same rhythm. To me that’s comfort. That also means that I immediately belong to other Catholic communities whether in Italy, Costa Rica, California, Ireland all placed I’ve attended mass.
Have you ever attended the Hospitality hour after a service? My husband and I love doing this when we are on vacation. It’s not just about free coffee. You can also find the best local hot spots to eat, sightsee and possibly create a new friendship.
For week 7 which runs July 24th– 30th, it’s time to Belong.
On my FB page here, I plan on showcasing other Blue Zone Communities that have really turned the Blue Zone Project into a Community thing! Not just a girl and a blog with a few followers. This is the whole town!
But what can we do? I’d love to hear what Community YOU Belong to? Is it a church? A neighborhood or civic organization that oozes Togetherness? Make sure you comment below. Someone here might just be looking!
Ps. And if you missed it, this week we are Wine @ 5. Read it here!