Karla’s Korner: The Roots of Life
The Roots of Life….
So there I sat alone in a secluded booth at Ruby Tuesday’s waiting for my dinner companions to arrive. I was a bit nervous as I had not seen them in quite a while. Sipping tea and scanning through social media to pass the time I wondered why it was that I was so out of sorts. After all I have known these two men my whole life. Glancing toward the door as they arrive I wave to catch their attention greeting them as they sit down across from me. These men are my brothers; one three years older the other three years younger. At first the conversation was a bit strained just as our relationship has been for quite some time. But somehow the differences and the distance we had between us began to fade and I realized that I had missed them and I believe they had missed me too. The reason behind our visit didn’t matter as much as the fact they had agreed to drive 40 miles to meet me because you see it was because of me that our lives had become disconnected. The distance between us was a result of my own pride and as my grandfather would say bull headed ways, but in the midst of my mistakes and self-inflicted troubles I found it necessary to swallow my pride and reach out and in turn they reached back.
Writer Jacqueline Cary wrote “All exiles carry a map within them that points the way homeward” and country music artist Dolly Parton said “Storms make trees take deeper roots”. When we speak of home, our roots, we often find ourselves believing that our purpose in life is to leave it all behind or that we must grow apart or away or if nothing else distance ourselves enough so that we can create our own root system. I wonder, however, if it’s possible necessary even to remain rooted and grow individually at the same time. About twelve years ago I received three small lilies of the valley seedlings from my aunt. They were offspring from my grandmother’s garden and since she had passed away they made me feel somehow closer to her. Small, relatively insignificant little plants I chose to put them under my dining room window just out from my back door where I would pass them every day as I left and returned home. In the years since planting those three tiny little plants the once dense open space under the window has become a lush covered area filled with lilies of the valley. You see their roots multiplied under the earth allowing them to spread and grow filling in the gaps between the old and the new. The new sprouts have just begun to break the surface from the winters ground bringing forth a bit of newness reminding me that without the original roots staying firm within the soil the new ones would not have had the opportunity to grow and move out into the open ground. My guess is that the root system beneath the dirt is rather twisted with all of the roots leading back to the three original plants; the three anchors of their existence.
As we finished dinner and prepared to leave I stood on the parking lot with these two men I call my brothers, two men that I had allowed myself to drift apart I realized that our roots have kept us connected even though we had not communicated with one another in a very long time. In spite of my own selfish pride the root system in which we were planted in many years ago has withstood the test of time, life storms and I believe grew deeper and stronger allowing us the weather those life storms finding our way back to one another; possibly stronger than we’ve ever been before. And as I hugged each of them tightly and the tears began to fill my eyes I knew that this was the beginning of a new relationship with them; a tightening of our roots so to speak. These days I find it necessary to mend a few fences, build a few bridges, eat a little crow and cultivate old relationships that I’ve allowed to go dormant in the winter season of life. Being wrong isn’t such a bad thing if we are able to learn from our mistakes; it’s in that learning process we remember our roots and return to them for strength and support.
Life is filled with strong winds of adversity and cool breezes of peace and tranquility. If it wasn’t for the strong winds blowing through our lives we wouldn’t find our strength or be able to enjoy those cool breeze moments. Much like the old oak tree that stands firm in my yard during the harsh winds of March we too must rely on our roots, the foundation of our beginning to hold us together during those strong storms life blows our way. And whether those storms are self-inflicted or just a factor of life in general it’s important to hold onto the road map that leads us back to those roots. For me the road back has been long and difficult filled with curves, potholes and bumps; many of which I created. Acknowledging the need for roots, for home, for family, old friends and familiarity is I believe the beginning of healing, re-defining and welcoming change; the new sprouts that life has growing within us.
As you plod through the week, I encourage you to reflect on your own roots system knowing that all are different and unique to our own selves. If your root system is strong and secure celebrate that and if it’s a bit like mine has been then take time to water it, add a little soil, nurture it and allow it to grow a bit deeper in the things that should matter. In the words of a favorite poet Rumi, “Maybe you are searching among the branches for what only appears among the roots.” Life your life to the fullest but never forget your roots.
I think we all need a touch point a place we can go to be inspired. Karla is my children’s teacher, a good friend, and a person with a heart of gold. I hope that her words will inspire you to do more. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. It is important to listen with your heart and proceed with your eyes open. Enjoy!
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