When you're a kid all you want is to fit in. Be like everyone else. Have whatever shirt or hat or jeans that make you cool. All you want is to not be the weirdo, the oddball, the one that talks funny, dresses funny, smells funny.

Y'know the kids toy with the shapes that slide into perfect cutouts? Everyone says the misfits are like square pegs trying to slide into round holes. I've always felt like more like a shape that came from a different set. Never really fitting in anywhere.

I come from a very small town, no stoplights, no gas stations, no bowling alleys. In fact the last census put my hometown at a population of 265. I didn't fit in there. I may have the blood of a farmer running through my veins but not the soul of one. I was always restless. Hungry for adventure, Ready for more. I found the thought processes of most of my friends to be confusing. Their biggest goals in life were 1. Find a job 2. Find a wife 3. Buy a house 4. Have some kids.  I always found that boring, routine, not what I wanted. 

I now live in the suburbs of America's "Second City." A city with a population of 2,707,120. I don't fit in here. My southern roots betray me. When someone bumps into me I say "Excuse me" which is met with angry stares. I try to be polite to people I've just met which is confusing to most, and they wonder why I'm even talking to them. People here are cut off, solitary, alone in a crowd. My friends mostly live fast lives of parties and closed off social circles and cliques that I feel out of place in. I haven't heard of their obscure favorite bands and probably wouldn't like them even if I had.

To a guy like me I find living in "community" to be very difficult. It's foreign to my nature. I've always felt like a burden, like when people do hang out with me it's out of pity and eventually they'll get tired of me, so I tend to disappear from people's lives before they disappear from mine. This opening up to another is tremendously difficult. I don't like it. As the former nerdy kid I'm always waiting for the insult, for someone to turn around and ask "What are you doing here? Who even invited you?" And I'm betting I'm not alone in feeling this way.

Here's the hard part: We were built for community. Human Beings do best in groups. To quote the bible "As iron sharpens iron so does one man sharpen another." We are best with each other. "One can put a thousand to flight, two can put ten thousand to flight." In fact that is why we Christians take communion. To build community with each other. To say to one another we need this sacrifice Christ made for us. We need his body. We need his blood.

How does a misfit live in community with others? How does the outcast open themselves up?

If you have an answer or just desire community. Not judging, no harsh words. Leave your story in the comments, leave a response or just have a conversation. Let's write community for misfits 101.

11/13/2012 08:28:32 am

hey -very thought provoking. Now I hate to hear you feel so isolated, but must say I often do myself . I wonder if we won't fit till we get to heaven ? Does all this e-mail web stuff tend to keep us really more alone- with a pretense of community.

11/13/2012 09:38:08 am

I'm almost convinced that part of the modern human condition is this feeling of isolation. And the smart phones and computers definitely pull us away from each other and allow us to put a pretend version of ourselves out there. Sharing pictures of us looking good and having fun, When people share on facebook or tweet about how much fun they are having, I always wonder, why are they on twitter or facebook at that moment.

11/14/2012 01:17:59 am

Community is so essential. I have found God brings people into the lives of everyone, it's just or job to keep our eyes open for the people and accept them when they come. Even the misfits can find other misfits and build a community. God likes to use misfits and the rejected to complete His will. Great post!

David Helms
11/14/2012 11:30:30 am

Thanks Dan! God likes to use us misfits because He uses the foolish of the world to confound the wise. i.e. choosing twelve mostly uneducated fishermen to turn the world upside down.

11/15/2012 07:30:09 am


11/14/2012 11:49:56 am

Time. I've found that in time I've become less of a misfit no matter where I am. Either that or I just don't care what others think. I think we become more comfortable in our own skin with age. Perhaps this is not the answer you'd hope for, but it's just my perspective on the topic. Just do your best, David!


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