Thursday, September 26, 2013

YOLO

In consideration of the words of a famed psychologist (Dr. David Burns), there is no real 'healthy or normal depression.' Have you ever considered that notion? True, we feel sorrow from time to time, throughout the course of our lives on this earth, but sorrow and depression are not the same thing...says he. Funny thing; I've seen so many blog posts and cover pictures posted by my friends far and near, portraying my own thoughts, recently, that I have to wonder if something is in the air, or if something is common to this phase of life...or if something is happening in the world, at large. Even as I was getting ready to sign into my blog this morning, after months of having been away, I saw a cover graphic heading for the blog of one of my very dear friends that read: "Life is too short to spend it with people who suck the happiness out of you." I had to stop and think about that one. If I had a nickle for every time I've heard someone say, "life's too short to...(insert your choice of what to do or not to do here)," I'd be...we'll, I'd still be poor, but you know what I mean :) It's sort of like the youth of today, espousing the mantra: YOLO. I've told my kids to NOT say that, at least around me. I've always associated it with "eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die," and that's the sort of reckless thinking that winds people up in trouble, with nothing to lose, because they've already lost it. Thing is; life is short. Life is too short. I don't know if there is enough time for me to get myself completely upright. Like a kid off balance on a bicycle...wobbling... I used to think I knew so much and that I was so capable. Having buried my grandfather, my brother, my sister, my father and my own daughter by the time I was 21, (add to that my oldest son born with Cerebral Palsy), I thought I had lived through so many difficult life's experiences, that I had developed an insight and wisdom beyond my years. I definitely developed an appreciation for the 'life is short' statement. The more I go along the path, though, the more I'm convinced I know very little. I really haven't traveled very far. I haven't really any wisdom, to speak of... I'm just a middle aged woman, who's lived her life, so far, trying to do what was best for the people I love...finding joy in motherhood beyond anything else... I believe finding in joy in motherhood is what God intended for me...I don't believe God intends us to be unhappy. I don't believe He intends us to be unkind to each other or to try to make each other unhappy intentionally, out of anger or selfishness. I don't believe we are intended to throw caution to the wind, because, after all, you only live once (YOLO). There are some things I believe and some things I don't believe. There are very few things I KNOW. There are very many things I just don't know. I don't know if the key to my own happiness is in my right pocket or my left...or if I put it in another pair of jeans. I don't know if happiness really can be sucked out of one person by another, or if that notion is an example of cognitive distortion. I don't know if I'm unique, or if we are all living the same life...the same, one life...the life we only live once...

Thursday, October 11, 2012

For the now...

I've been at a crossroad; it seems, for a while. Perhaps it's not that I've been paused at the crossroad... perhaps it's that the intersection is enormous. Although my decision is to continue forward in the same direction I've been travelling, it seems the forward path is difficult and many times I find myself looking to the left or right, if not veering. Many readers may know I've lost about 130 pounds in the last couple of years. I was 42 years old when I began the arduous journey to claim my body. It has been a very slow, ongoing process and though I'm very healthy now, I still feel I have something yet to accomplish. Most likely, I'll deal with that complex for the rest of my life, and that's OK. I liken it to a scary movie; you know it's just make believe, but later, in the dark of that night, as you lie in bed, you still get just a little nervous at the thought of getting up to go to the bathroom. That may just be a girl thing...but I know at least some of you commiserate. Having said that, my two and a half year journey toward my personal health and wellness potential has been long and slow. There've been many times I thought I was working for nothing. The scale didn't move for weeks at a time. My clothing all seemed to fit the same. I didn't see any change in myself. Regardless, I continued to go through the motions, doing the work I believed was the right thing for me. I had made the commitment to exercise. (Eventually, I made the commitment to cut back on calories... very slowy, I might add.)I had already made the choice that I was going to work out and, come what may, I was determined to continue, because the decision was already made. It's like that in life, generally speaking, I think... or should be. When we make a commitment, either to ourselves or to someone else, it may not appear as though everything is turning out the way we anticipated, but we made that commitment. Commitment means something. It doesn't mean it'll be easy. Haha! Mostly, in life, in my experience at least, it is exceptionally NOT easy to keep those commitments that matter most and those that have the most profound impact on us and those around us. We enter into covenants, and at some point in time down the road, it may become difficult to hold up our end of the deal. Now, whether that's because we sprained a figurative (or literal) ankle, or because we contracted a figurative (or literal) illness from someone coughing their germs on us...or whether someone drove their figurative (or literal) car by while we were minding our own business, working out, and took a shot at us, wounding us, even incapacitating us... Regardless, it's all the same. The covenant is ours. The promise made is our promise to keep. We may do well to ask ourselves: do I keep my commitments because it's easy? Do I keep them because other people keep theirs? Do I break mine because other people break theirs? Do the actions and choices of another justify my walking away from a commitment I made, though I believed the commitment was good and right when I made it? I made the commitment. It's mine. Is it dependent on someone else? This seems like a good place to mention I teach fitness classes at the local gym. I teach Monday through Friday every week. However, on Tuesday and Friday I teach two classes. In addition to my regular 8 o'clock classes, I teach a 'sit fit' class for seniors and those who are mobility impaired or have balance issues. Now-- the participants in the 'sit fit' classes could say, "It's difficult for me. I can't stand up. No matter how hard I try, I can't work out like (whomever), and I'll never be able to (pick your activity that most 90 year old people can't do...or most people who use a wheelchair can't do)..." That isn't what they say, though! No! Those 'sit fit' participants could all pull out and stay home because of the challenges they face in their struggle to hold on to their health as best they can. But, they don't stay home. They show up two days a week to do the best they can with what they have to work with at this point in life. They smile and lift those one, two or three pound weights and enjoy the struggle. They struggle to cross and uncross their ankles! They struggle to reach their toes! They struggle to even get there in the morning, but they come. True- they will not run a 5k this fall. For those who were born with physical limitations, running a 5k was never an option. Climbing a tree was never an option. Yet, instead of throwing in the towel because 'happily ever after' didn't look like they expected it to look, they rise up to meet the challenges they face and keep the commitment made to themselves to exercise! I'm so impressed with those class participants! Can you tell? It would be so easy to quit sometimes; so easy to just throw in the towel and give up! However, once a promise has been made, it has been made. A commitment to either oneself or to another is not to be taken lightly. A commitment is to be kept. The crossroad may seem wide and broad, but the path has been chosen. It may seem the journey is slow and very long, and perhaps more difficult than imagined beforehand...but it's the journey to which the commitment has already been made. To find out exactly what the full potential of the experience is, we must pursue the onward path. Though we may not see the benefit immediately or soon enough, we will in time. For the now...continue to press forward. Never stop starting. Have faith that the work will indeed produce desired results; perhaps not in our time, but in the time of Him who knows better than we what is best.

Monday, December 26, 2011

My Job

When I was a young woman... not like I'm ancient now... but, when I was early in the process of trying to figure out what kind of adult woman I wanted to be, and whether or not I could be who I wanted to be, I was blessed to have a couple of good women come into my life; to influence me and exemplify some characteristics I admired and wanted to emulate. One, more recently, has been such an example to me making a short list of three who've left a profound impression.

Laura: never said a negative thing about anyone.

Marty: always maintained an even, peaceful disposition, even when her kids pressed her buttons...even when, beneath the surface she was feeling less than peaceful :)

Jewel: after a lifetime of marriage and so many difficulties in life that most people never experience, has remained joyful, grateful, faithful and loving to her husband, to her children and grandchildren, and to her Father in Heaven.

There are many women who have touched my life; many I admire and respect, though these three have exemplified particular strengths I desire for my own. I've striven over the years to emulate these Christlike qualities. I've made progress, but still have miles to go before I rest, to quote the poet.

Recently, I had the opportunity to visit briefly with a sweet young mother I've known for some years. We've lived away from each other for a year or so, and I hadn't seen her in a long time when I happened to meet her at a party in the town where I used to live near her. She said something to me that touched me deeply.She told me I am one of the few women in her life who have had a profound impact on her as a young woman. I don't think she knows how much that means to me. I don't know if I'm her Laura, her Marty or her Jewel, but I'm so glad to be the Sally she will always remember.

That's part of what we want, as women, isn't it; To feel special to somebody? To feel like we've made a difference in the world?

Sometimes we feel like our role in life isn't such an important one. Especially when we choose to be home with our children, and for our husbands, we may come to believe our part in the grand scheme of the world's happenings isn't valued by the world, in general. If someone isn't paying you by the hour or by the week, month or year, then you must not be doing something valuable with your time, right? Being home with children, having children in general, is the role of someone not educated to do something more valuable to society, we sometimes feel...Of course this is wrong, but sometimes we listen to the voice of discouragement. This is important to understand: feelings like these; ideas like these are those planted by the enemy of righteousness. I don't have to name him here. You know who he is. It's important to know, too, that your Father in Heaven created you, as a woman, and gifted to you the necessary qualities which enable you to do the great work assigned to us, as women: to bear, nurture and rear righteous children; in essence, to build His kingdom here on earth.

I've used the line from the poem before, but remember it again: "The hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world." We see in the sad state of the world today, that many of us have not rocked the cradle with care. We've hired it away to the daycare workers and school teachers. No offense intended to any of those workers, as there is a true need for them and so many are gifted nurturers. However, in too many instances, women falsely believe that what they, themselves can do for money is more valuable than that which they could do at home, with their own children, for love alone. I do not apologize for stating here that no amount of money can hire a replacement mother. No mantter how gifted the caregiver, nobody can replace the care of a loving mother to her child. To anyone but the mother, it's a job to care for a child, no matter how gifted nor well intentioned the caregiver. A gentle, loving, rigtheous mother cannot be replaced by someone hired to do the work that rightfully belongs to her.

In considering the Atonement of Christ, one considers the greatest gift, greatest sacrifice, greatest service to all mankind... but a gift without price and not able to be purchased with money. The Atonement was sacrifice and service that no one can hire, but all mankind requires. Such is the type (on a much lesser scale, compared to that of the Savior), of love and gift of self that a mother gives to her family when she sacrifices the lauds of men, the merits of money and the gratification of self to give quiet, loving service to an infant in the night, in the morning, and at any moment when her baby, toddler, young child, or teenage child needs her. A mother who lovingly and willingly brings God's children into her home, welcomes them and loves them as they grow, who is there for them when they seek her and even when they don't; this mother rules the world, along with her sisters throughout the world who do the same godly work.

Truly, the errand of angels is given to women, though not a penny is paid for the great work we do.

How grateful I am for the women who have touched my life; those who have shown me how it looks to be the kind of woman I've tried to grow up to become. I'm still growing up, and have a long way to go.

Thank you Laura, Marty and Jewel... and thank you, Amber. I needed that. Sometimes I still hear the whisperings of the enemy, and I get discouraged.

It will be a long time before my kids are old enough to affirm my decision to be a stay at home mom. One of these days, when they're all grown, living their own lives with children of their own, I'll see whether or not the difference in the quality of their lives compared to so many of the sad people in this world is that which I've been hoping for and praying for all these years as I've been here to nurture and teach them by my words and deeds. Until then, I'll continue in the work I set out to do nearly a quarter of a century ago when I was pregnant with my first child: the work of motherhood; the work or womanhood.

Though I won't have a retirement fund to show for it all, I'm glad to be called to this work and grateful for it. My retirement plan is to lay up for myself treasure in heaven... because that's where my heart is...

Besides, the monument I'm building and plan to leave to the world will be worth more than a trust fund. It will be manifest in the lives of righteous people for generations to come... beginning with those lives I brought into this world.

At the end of the day, I don't think "another day, another dollar." I do, sometimes, think on the words from the scripture that say, "This is my work and my glory; to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man."

What a job, huh?

I'm glad to be a partner in that work...though small my role may be, in the grand eternal scope...still...the worth of one soul is great in the sight of God.

As many women who have impacted my life, I'm a woman who will profoundly impact the lives of these children I've borne... and other people...

I'm not a young woman anymore...but not a grandma yet,(though I'm old enough to be!).

I'm not done with my work here.

I'm not done growing up, either.

It's a strange place to be...but a good place to be.

Not to sound presumptuous, but I think it's the same place where we all are...

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wondering and Wandering in the Wilderness

I've been wandering.

First, I left my home in Kyle, Texas to follow my husband to Fountain, Colorado. I felt lost there for a long time. Then, after a while, I found the special people the Lord placed in my path to be support, to be my friends, and I felt home.

After almost a year, I followed my husband away from Colorado and back to Texas... this time to Blanco; a small town in the Texas Hill Country. Here I am, lost again, and feeling like a stranger in a strange land... though a beautiful land where good people live.

For 40 years the Israelites wandered in the wilderness. They murmured against Moses... against God. Sometimes they complained it would have been easier for them to have remained in Egypt, where at least they felt at home...instead, they were lost in the wide world, doubting it was what was best for them.

It took the Hebrew slaves many years to become a people prepared to inherit the promised land. Many people were born and died while they wandered, until the time came when they were sufficiently humbled and obedient that the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, even the God of Jacob could bless them with all that had been promised their fathers.

I feel lost, in a way, and I wonder how long I'll wander in my wilderness before I'm sufficiently humble and obedient...? I know I was lead to Colorado for reasons my Father in Heaven knows... some of the reasons I know now, as well. I know, too that I was lead back to Texas for reasons my Father in Heaven knows. I'm not sure I know any of the reasons, yet, but hope I will, in time.

Just as I can look back and see the hand of the Lord guided by wisdom and care for my welfare when leading me away from my home of so many years, I believe the time will come when I look back on the whole of this passed year and see the wisdom... though I'm not quite getting a clear picture as of yet.

I've wondered about the Israelites; did they know they were rebellious? Did they know they were prideful and disobedient? When they were disobedient, did they justify their actions in such a way as to convince themselves that they were not? Do I do that same thing? The Lord was before them in a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. I don't see the Lord in a cloud, nor a pillar. I know He is there...but sometimes I wish I could see Him everyday. Then again, even with the cloud and pillar, they were slow to remember all He had done for them... maybe I would be the same. I don't know. I'm wandering.

Part of what was wrong in those days, I think, is that the people tended to be pretty ungrateful. No, "Thank you, Moses, for leading us out of 400+ years of slavery"... Moses even sang to the children of Israel a song of gratitude that took up almost a whole chapter in Exodus 15. He sang the story of their deliverance and eventually got the whole camp of Israel involved in the music before he was done, with people singing and dancing and playing musical instruments. I guess it must be pretty important for us to remember what the Lord has done for us and to say 'thank you'... After all, the Lord's prophet led the singing.

I wonder if counting my blessings and remembering all the Lord has done for me will help me as I wander in my own personal wilderness like it helped the people of Israel?

It's been said that faith is hope for things which are true, but are not seen. Because I hope, then perhaps I have faith sufficient to find the promised land. I hope it doesn't take another 40 years.

It's interesting to me how Israel wandered around and around, so close to their destination, but so far away; so close, yet so far... I can relate.

Israel wandered in the wilderness, but they weren't lost. God knew where they were. He was slowly, gently, as they were ready, leading them to the place He wanted them to be. None of us is ever lost, though we may be wandering...Like me... I'm not lost, I'm wandering. God knows where I am.

If I put what trust and faith I have in the Lord, I know He will eventually lead me out of the wilderness. And if I don't see the pillar of fire, nor the cloud, I at least know who the prophet is, and I can follow him; sing when he sings; go where he tells me the Lord wants me to go...I can do that.

One thing about wandering: With the right guidance-- if you keep putting one foot in front of the other, you eventually find your way home.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Letting Go

When I was a little girl, my parents divorced. I was three and a half... not quiet four. It was long after my third birthday, because I remember my dad being there at home when I threw my bottle in the garbage, because three year old girls are too big to drink a baby bottle. He found me out later when I went garbage picking and washed it out and filled it up with milk... he wasn't too upset... thought it was funny. I digress- I know I wasn't four yet, because I was four when my brother Johnny was shot to death it the other room of our house during an argument with my sister's boyfriend. We lived in Loveland Park Ohio at that time... after the divorce. It was after we moved from Detroit to Loveland Park and then on to Modesto California that the first memorable sorrow relative to my parents' divorce came to me.

My dad followed us to Modesto, California, to be near his children. He had a niece and her family nearby in Sunnyvale, so it worked for him on a couple fronts. At any rate, my dad came to take us (my brother Philip, sister Iva and me) to visit him at his apartment. He had a small studio in San Francisco. It was so cool. I remember being fascinated at the little kitchenette. The city was amazing to me, as a child, as well. I guess San Francisco is fascinating anyway...

My dad brought us home to Modesto and our apartment after a weekend with him. I didn't want him to leave. I told him I wanted him to come home. I cried uncontrollably. I begged him please, please, please to not leave me. I missed him. I wanted to be with him. He was my daddy. No matter what had happened between him and my mother or anyone else, I loved him and wanted to have him every day. I couldn't breathe. I felt desperate. Then something happened that changed me to this day. A knife appeared, slicing my spirit and forever scarring me: My dad knelt down beside me and hugged me tight. He told me I was hurting him. He said it hurt him too much to see me cry like that. He told me to stop crying, because if I didn't, he wouldn't be able to come see me anymore.

I couldn't stop crying. I cried worse. He cried. Then my mom came out of the apartment and took me inside. I was nearly hysterical. I believed in that moment that I would never see my dad again, because I couldn't stop crying and he said he wouldn't come back if I didn't.

I understand his intentions, though he obviously knew NOTHING about child psychology. Regardless, he hurt me in such a way that I've never managed to heal completely from that.

I love easily, but I also stand ready for rejection, which I know, in my deepest of hearts, is coming. If my own father, who obviously loved me to the point of tears at my sadness; if he could turn away from me then who would stay? If there is so stability in my own home (as a child' mind thinks) then where is there a safe haven? Why is my wanting of my daddy (manifest by tears of sorrow for parting) enough to drive him away from me? To make him say he'll never come back?

As a child, I was devastated by this. As I grew, I had a lot of hang-ups (still do haha :) As a 42 year old mother of 9 children of my own, I realize a couple of very important lessons learned from this experience:

Firstly- our words and actions profoundly impact the growth and development of our children, so we should be very careful about what we say to them and how we treat them, focusing special care when we, ourselves are unhappy, exhausted, or otherwise depressed. Something said in moments of weakness or sadness may roll off our tongues and into the heart of a child to do him harm not easily undone.

Secondly- Divorce is not just about parents; a given, right? There are cases in which divorce is necessary. Unfortunately, there are those who violate sacred trust; hurt family members, molest them emotionally or physically. In these cases, such as in the instance of my own family of origin, divorce is necessary to protect the innocent. However, when a child's home is torn apart by divorce (and the turmoil preceding the same) it is imperative the adults focus special care and effort to love and support the child who doesn't have the advantage of years and wisdom, insight and experience to self-comfort. A child doesn't see the whole picture. He only sees his home is gone, his daddy is gone and his life, as he knew it, is over. He doesn't see anything beautiful in the future, or that things will get better. He only sees that, whereas he once was happy, now he is sad and lonely... and is powerless to change a thing.

In my family of origin, divorce really would have been better implemented about four years before I was born, when all of the wickedness came to light. For whatever reasons I won't go into now, my mother waited. I guess she wanted to give it her very best effort. I guess she didn't know that no matter what one spouse does, you can't change the other spouse. We are all agents unto ourselves. True, it does make it easier to be good and sweet to someone who treats you the same way, but it doesn't always work out that way. There is mental illness in the world, there are behavioral disorders, there are even physical conditions that alter mood and behavior to some extent... not to say that poor treatment of a spouse is ever, under any circumstances acceptable. And, parents have a responsibility to model healthy behavior for their children, as well... not just to treat each other appropriately. In my family of origin, it was the treatment of children in particular that was completely unacceptable. Strange, though, if I had been in a position to counsel my own mother back in 1964, I would have strongly encouraged her to remove her children from potential danger... and if she had followed my counsel, I would never have been born. I guess that just goes to show that sometimes good can come from rotten circumstances... if my life has been good at all... and I have to say, I at least am grateful for it :)

I'm left with the impression that, even though sometimes things go wrong...sometimes people do bad or hurtful things...I have hope, that with time and with practice in looking for the positive in negative situations, we can take something painful and grow something good from it. I haven't figured out how to minimize the scaring into nothingness, but maybe that's part of how we remember what brought us to the point at which we stand.

We are each the culmination of our life's experiences, are we not? If it weren't for the pleasures and the pain of this life, we would never grow to meet our full potential as spiritual beings having this mortal experience. As the tree trunk gains strength by swaying in the wind, so does our mind and our spirit gain strength through experiencing pains and sorrows.

It is difficult to let go. Even when my dad was pushing me away toward my mother, and as my mother took me into the apartment, I clung to my dad's leg and then struggled to free myself from my mother's grasp so I could return to him who was rejecting me. I understand the whole scenario now, and how it looked to those adults. However, the poetry of the whole thing wasn't fully appreciated by them, or me, at the time. If my father hadn't rejected me, I would have stayed with him forever. There is too deep a thread in this for me to discuss in depth on a blog page, but suffice it to say I have issues... haha. If I'm not rejected, I will stay and be whatever is needed to be allowed to stay. If I'm rejected, well... I expected that anyway. Sort of sick, I know... but that's me.

I guess that's why it's been so hard for me to leave Texas to come here to Colorado. Daniel has work here and a family needs to be together... so here we are. After living in Texas the greater part of 30 years, it's been tough. I feel like I have one foot on the dock and one in the boat. There are so many people I didn't want to leave. It has been painful for me. People who wish I would stay, people who love me, people who are sad to see me go: these people make it so difficult because I don't know how to move on... I don't feel like I really want to make new friends. I want to run back and cling to the legs of my old friends.

I've never let go on my own before. My dad was taken away against my will...his death was difficult for me, as well. My brother was shot to death in the other room from where I was. My sister was killed by a drunk driver. My mother died suddenly. My daughter stopped breathing in the middle of the night... Not to complain, but to illustrate my unwilling partings in life. I've only had people wrenched away from me... Maybe I'm not so different than anyone else. I don't know. I only know myself and that I don't know how to reconcile a final good-bye.

I continue to feel a sense of denial... like this is not the end of anything I want to keep. Where is my mother to drag me away?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A Retraction

In a previous post I suggested that people are like campfires; cozy in a relationship at the proper distance... Get too close, and you might get burned. I've rethought that position and here is my the result of my ponderation:

When a person has reached his or her full potential as a spiritual being, one should be able to stand in the middle of the figurative campfire without harm. Shadrack, Meshack and Abidnago all stood in the midst of a firey furnace and came out without harm. Not a hair of their heads was singed. On an emotional and spiritual level, is it not possible, then, to figuratively stand within the flames of a relationship and not be burned when the one with whom one relates is offensive?

I feel very sure it must be possible to relate in a Christlike manner to someone who is unkind, rude, and sarcastic. My method until now has been to back away from such people, and to not relate to them very closely. For general acquaintances, this may be acceptable, however, when dealing with members of one's extended family, family or origin or family by marriage, this is not acceptable, in my view.

Trials in relationships can either divide us from each other or bind us more closely together. When I was a kid, and my shoestring broke, I tied the ends together so as to still be able to make us of the thing. Yes, there was an ugly knot there, but my shoe was tied and I could go on my way.

In relationships, sometimes we have to do something similar to keep it together. Somebody has to take special care to keep the functionality. If the other person doesn't do it, then I must be the one to do it. You must do it: be the one to bind you together. Many times, the best way to do this is to refuse to stay offended. Apologize even if you think you've done nothing wrong. Mean it. After all, if there is strife, everyone involved should feel sorry for it; for whatever has been said or done to cause upset in the other person, even if the thing was imagined or unintentional.

I believe it is intended that we maintain and build loving relationships with our family members. Beginning with our immediate family, then radiating outward, learning to grow healthy relationships is an exercise in the pursuit of personal excellence. Cultivating the ability to stand close to someone who is difficult is cultivating the ability to love without condition. It is easier to love a difficult family member from a distance, but no personal growth will occur if such is the case.

I can love and respect a tread mill from a distance, but unless I get on it and make it work, I will never truly grow because of my relationship with it.

If 'he sits as a refiner and purifier of silver' as the scripture says, then should I seek to escape the flames of Him who would purify me? If it is a difficult task, should I stand far enough away so as not to master it?

When I can stand in the middle of the flame and walk away without a hair of my head having been singed, then I have become the person I was designed to be.

If it were easy to love everybody, we wouldn't have to be commanded to do it. "A new commandment I give unto you; that you love one another, as I have loved you."

And if it were easy, we wouldn't have to be told to endure to the end.

These are some of the thoughts in my brain tonight.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

How Deep Are My Roots?


Years ago a storm blew through Harwood, Texas. I believe it may have been 1993, but don't quote me on that. The day before, two identical peach trees stood in the yard of Clint and Julie Fairchild; neighbors of mine to the West. I remember when the Fairchilds planted those two trees several years earlier, and now, in May of that year, they both were laden with fruit. Both were mature and beautiful trees.

No one may have ever known how the two trees differed if the storm had not come to town that year. The day after the winds howled and the rains came down in sideways sheets, only one of the trees was standing. The other was laying on its side, uprooted and dying. One survived the storm; the other did not. What was the difference? The roots.

A tree with roots sunk deep into the earth is more likely to withstand the storms that rage. A tree with shallow roots is more likely to topple in the wind... And what good is a dead tree? What fruit does it offer next season? What does it matter that last year it was beautiful if now, and tomorrow and forever from now it will bear no fruit? Even if the toppled tree could have been salvaged: severely pruned and root cut, replanted and nourished for years to come; it would, at best, be many, many years until it could again bear fruit, if it ever could again.

How much are we like trees. We must ask ourselves how deep are our roots? When someone we trusted lies to us, when we lose our jobs, when we feel let down by those whom we had counted as friends, when we thirst and there is no one who gives us drink, when we hunger and no friend gives us meat, when we are in prison and no one comes to visit... when the storm comes to our town, will we stand or fall?

There is only one sure way to remain safely rooted when the storms of life blow. When no one can support your wavering limbs; when there is no strength in your trunk to withstand the gale upon you-- He who planted the trees and caused them to grow; He who calms the wind and causes the waters to still; He who knows your sorrows and pain-- only He can help you survive the storms.

When you are deeply rooted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, you will remain connected to the earth that gives you life. You will remain standing to bear fruit in the season thereof and will continue to give strength, nourishment and shelter to those who depend upon you for strength. As you are rooted in Christ, so others may find strength in you. The goodness and strength they find in you is a reflection of Him who is the author of your strength and goodness.

Remain deeply rooted in Christ so as to be found standing at the last day, after the storm has passed.