I’m not an arborist, but I sure like to contemplate on the strength and character of trees. They have an ancient resiliency that fascinates me. The changing color of Autumn leaves this time of year or the fresh blooms of Spring are but symptoms of what goes on beneath the surface of the ground for trees. It’s their root systems that fascinate me. The roots are what solidify their firm foundation and give it lasting structure. The roots are also what absorbs the nutrients needed for growth, development and self-healing. They live in a harmony of the beauty of the present day and the preparation for the storms of tomorrow. They are present-future in their outlook.
Our culture does not celebrate rootedness. The ‘good’ life is sold to us as a bag of goods about life above the surface. What makes us feel good today? Fleeting beauty, instant results, quick fixes when things get difficult, just move on.
Is there anything you root yourself in that gives you foundation and structure? What is present in your life that promotes your personal growth? Where are you intentional about your development as a better human? As you live today, are you also going deep to anchor down for the storms of tomorrow so that they don’t bring total destruction? Specifically, what are the nutrients you need and how do you put yourself in a space to absorb them?
No one will do this for you. If you’ve given over your life, choices and personal freedoms to the fashions and news of the day, they will not care for you when the storms of life come. Our consumer culture is set on a lie, selling you things you don’t need that never offer contentment so that you come back for yet more. It is a cycle of discontentment by design. It serves them, not you. You are not entitled to the glitter and promises of the ‘good’ life but that doesn’t mean you can’t live a ‘good’ life.
I am learning in my old age to pay attention to my roots. To not listen to the noise of the culture and instead go deeper in my reflection, contemplation and experience of truth in this Creation. I find that in Faith, in Ancient Scriptures, in worship of the Divine, in Prayer, in observing Creation, in laughing with friends, in spending quality time with family, in music that moves me, in reading poetry and writing that is ‘outside the box’. Those bring nutrients that strengthen the root system below the surface of my life.
I am presently in a storm above the surface, but the root system below me is yet growing and that brings me a great sense of satisfaction. Pay attention to the deep places, it will serve you well in the storms of life.
“That’s why I don’t think there’s any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. The created world itself can hardly wait for what’s coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens.” -Romans 8:18-21 (The Message)