My next-door neighbor loves to garden, and as you can see from the above photos, she is amazing at it. The landscaping in front of her house looks, literally, like Eden to me. She brought back plants from a recent trip home and she’s been outside every day or so, lovingly tending them and checking oh-so-carefully to see if they are indeed putting down roots.
That’s how we human creatures are designed to live as well: as the Apostle Paul put it, rooted and grounded in Love; in what is good, true, reputable, authentic, beautiful, gracious. Connected – to ourselves, to the Holy, to one another, and to our world.
Grateful and blessed, I’d found and married “my person” – my soul mate and best friend – and for 41 years and 361 days, that was my life.
When I lost him, I found myself lost, flailing and disconnected. Just like my neighbor regularly digs down to “find her roots” – to see if her new plants are growing – I’ve been searching ever since for things that keep me rooted, grounded, and connected.
It seems counter-intuitive – much of grief has been that way for me – but instead of immediately reaching out, what was necessary and helpful for me was to first look inward. To ask, “Where am I, who am I, and what do I need?”
Grieving our family’s recent loss surrounded by headlines full of hateful acts and hateful words, my sense of being rooted, grounded, and connected has been shaken these past two weeks. I’m revisiting those questions, considering again where I am, who I am, and what I need in these heartbreaking, soul-shattering days.
It’s scary, but the questions - even the painful ones that don’t have immediate answers - are not the enemy. Disengagement is.
Here’s what I’m noticing:
I need to keep digging – “finding my roots” – learning the whole story of my life and what makes me “tick”. History tells us who we are; offers perspective, understanding, and clarity. And within the story of who we are lie the seeds of what we can become.
I need beauty. Pausing long enough to become aware of the beauty around me – in its many and varied forms – evokes gratitude, which opens the door to joy. Those two things – gratitude and joy – deeply nourish me, but I don’t always allow myself to fully experience them.
I need to be, not just do. A recovering planner who used the calendar and clock to (try to) control my circumstances and filter and meter my emotions, I need to be intentional about giving myself time and space to just be – who I am, where I am, how I am – and to feel what I feel.
But I also need engagement in some type of creative process. I need to be involved in something that stimulates my mind, feeds and frees my spirit, and is, at some level, life-giving to others.
The rhythm of my days no longer directly tied to the seasons of the church year by virtue of my vocation, I need to continue to search for and maintain practices that connect me to the Sacred.
This is where I am and (some of) what I need right now.
What about you, Dear Reader? Where are you and what do you need?
Have you dug down deep enough to “find your roots”?
What helps you stay rooted, grounded, and connected?