Thursday, July 20, 2017
Roots Defined Differently
The topic of roots is always swirling around in my mind, as we have so often wrestled with it. Not wrestled like two sweaty bodies crawling around on a mat until one pins another, but more like the pull and tug needed to make taffy. Recently again, God brought it to the forefront ~ the roots and our desire to find those roots in a home. Home like house, land, community, city. But I have learned that roots and home are not necessarily defined to include staying in one place.
Christie Purifoy has written a beautiful book titled, "Roots and Sky" that chronicles their first year in a new home, as they made the intentional effort to put down roots. Today she posted a story written by Bekah DiFelice, who as the military spouse of a Marine, is "on the move" often. Bekah has journaled her days and written a book about growing roots while being transient. ("Almost There: Searching For Home While On The Move") She writes, "I have often wondered what it takes for them (roots) to wind through the ground beneath me and make me feel settled, at home." She describes their family as "movable gardens and transplanted roots, asking what and where home is now and what else it could be." Bekah writes that she has taken comfort in Christie Purifoy's statement that defines homecoming as a process rather than a moment.
I grew up on the move, living in 7 towns and 5 states before finishing first grade. When I was 7 my father died. There were a couple more moves before settling in the town where I graduated from high school. Joel grew up on the family farm, seldom leaving the community until he headed off to Bible College at age 20. Soon after we were married Joel joined the Air Force and we spent 8 years moving around with the military before getting out so he could attend the seminary. As a pastor and family we moved several times too. Moving is familiar to us. After 21 years in our current micro-tropolis, staying in one place has become more familiar. Not necessarily always comfortable, but familiar.
So the roots thing. It just keeps coming up, and as it does I am finding the process fascinating. It is a revelation to discover that how we define roots is as simple or as complicated as the lives of each individual.
I have a blogger friend who, like me, battled Lyme and still lives with the damage it did in her body. She and her hubby just finished moving to another state....this their 36th move! She, too, has longed for a home with roots, and in a recent post Lisa shared her understanding that Jesus is the door home, no matter where she lives. She does love her new house and yard, but she knows Jesus is the door to her permanent Home. A comforting thought.
There is that saying.............."Home is where the heart is". And maybe that is all there is to it. Still, those roots seem to beckon. So, can you have roots and travel? Just like the old, really old TV show said, "Have guns, will travel"......can you "have roots, will travel?"
We have observed dear friends as they begin their journey to a life of travel, bringing their home with them. Not a home with a foundation going deep into the ground, nor the city they have lived in for nearly 3 decades, but yet a solid foundation with roots. Roots on wheels.
When we were in the military we felt we had roots. We have pondered this and decided it was because the military was our "home" no matter where we were stationed. As a Pastor and family, when we moved on we felt uprooted. We left behind a piece of our heart and took with us our memories as we said yes to a new calling.
So I'm thinking that maybe, just maybe we have roots that go all the way to the Philippines, where we experienced a season of our lives that we hold close. Maybe we have roots all the way into Montana, and certainly in Minnesota. Our roots may not go vertically deep into one place, but more horizontally. Roots defined differently.
We know so many pastors who moved so much in their ministry. As retired or older seniors they have moved to new places to be close to some of their family. Roots coming from the heart. We know other people who have never left the town they grew up in or in later years returned to the place they spent their childhood. Another kind of roots as the past calls. All Roots defined differently but roots never-the-less.
This post probably means more to me than to anyone else, but as I hear what God has placed before me this week on the topic of home and roots, my understanding has deepened, broadened. A peace has settled over me as more pieces of this puzzle have fallen into place. I love how God opens our eyes and deepens our understanding out of His love for us. He is good that way.
Where are your roots? How do you define home? How do you define roots? Wishing you roots and sky, and not only a home to call your own, but a Home where Jesus welcomes you!