The roots of our grounding

Who makes us who we are?  Who are the people that teach us about the very meaning of life?  And by the meaning of life, I’m talking about what it means to love and be loved.  How does that shape who we become? 

In thinking about who I am, I’ve also been thinking a lot about trees, the hidden lives of their roots, and all that we cannot see below the surface (of both trees and ourselves).  Perhaps I’ve made this connection because I’m reading a book called ‘The Overstory’ by Richard Powers.  One of the chapters is about how humankind never see trees as ‘whole’:

You miss the half of it, and more.  There’s always as much below ground as above…

What do we miss when we cannot find a way to see ourselves as whole?  When we don’t stop to think about who has formed, and continues to form, our roots?  Roots that nourish and create our grounding, so that we can stand tall in all of our magnificence, despite our suffering, despite our sorrow, because we are loved.

There is a poem by Carrie Newcomer -  ‘To Be Like a Tree’ - that I posted on a contemplated life at the beginning of this year.  In the poem, Carrie Newcomer also reflects on how trees allow half of their life to be sheltered in the most quiet and secret places.  How, if we could be more like a tree, we could courageously and confidently dig down into the dark:

Where the ground water runs deep,
Where shelter and sanctuary
Can be had and held.

There will always be parts of our grounding that are so sacred that we cannot explain them.  And so our roots may remain hidden to the rest of humankind.  But our roots can always be felt.  They are our shelter and our sanctuary.  

We must always go back to our roots to find both strength and softness.  To stand tall in all of our magnificence, despite our suffering, despite our sorrow, because we are loved.