Make Like a Tree: Roots

This is the first post in a 5-post series entitled, “Make Like a Tree.” Feel free to check out each of the posts!

One of the biggest struggles I have working with people is making sure that we’re all on the same page with the amount of effort that we think our task is going to take. This is equally true if the project is painting a bedroom or working through a season of depression. We’ve probably all seen that no matter the project, any two people may have very differing views of the amount of work necessary, as well as the methods to be used for completion of the task.

I see this play out when we’re digging into the deeper issues of life. Sometimes people think that the project is too heavy, too hard, too tough to even to start, let alone finish. Other times, people will expect a miracle cure, a quick fix that we just need to put our finger on. In some ways I can see where those first people are coming from, it’s never easy to dig down into who we are and how we’ve landed here, but it’s almost always possible. As for those second folks, the task shifts from digging down, to a discovery of the value of digging down. So much of who we are begins and grows beneath the surface.
It’s for this reason that I’m not surprised that most natural growth begins underground. I’m no horticulturist, but I think one could easily argue that the roots of any plant play a particularly vital role in the plant’s survival. It’s in the roots that a plant gains nourishment, stability and strength – the opposite is also true, a weakened root structure leads to an often-unstable plant. The same could be said for the foundational pieces of our lives – our families, our history, the way we were raised; each of these things plays a vital role in who we are today. But it’s messy underground. It’s not always easy, or clean when you get down beneath the surface.

This fear of “getting dirty” holds a lot of folks back from exploring what’s beneath the surface of their lives, but when you seek to give appropriate understanding to these foundational pieces of life, there is something deeply nourishing about the process. It can take a lot of work to decipher the “root structures” of our lives, but when we understand what our roots look like, we can better understand how to strengthen and support them.

Each of our root structures grows deep in our lives, and if we can manage to strengthen them, we are making an effort to strengthen our outward lives as well.

Next week we’ll take a look at the pieces of life that break through the surface.

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