I got an e-mail from my dear friend, Paula, commenting on my article about cutting down the cottonwood tree. She reminded me that roots are not always bad, squeezing our hearts. Sometimes roots are good, helping us grow and reminding us of where we came from.
We get our roots from lots of different places. I have deep Midwest roots. Even though I love living in Colorado, I miss the rolling green hills and the farmland of Wisconsin. I miss the thunderstorms and even the humidity. But mostly my roots come from family.
My grandfather had a huge impact on my life. He always had time for me, taught me about baseball and faith in God. He had a strong German work ethic and taught me to do my best; to get up after falling down. My listening and caring roots come from my grandfather.
My mother taught me about courage and perseverance. She didn’t just quit when she was left alone with four kids to raise; she came up with a plan. She went back to college and became a teacher. She taught me about grace and acceptance when she was dying of ALS. She never complained and never once said “Why me?”. I hope I have deep roots in courage and grace.
My dad, really my step-dad, married my mom when I was 20. But he didn’t just marry my mom. He also married four kids, a dog and a mother-in-law. My dad taught me about unconditional love. He raised the youngest two, a real challenge. He got along with my grandmother, who was not a very likeable person. He cared for my mom for two years when she was dying without complaint. And ten years later he still has four “kids” who call him their “dad”. I hope my roots of unconditional love are as deep as my dad’s.
From my other grandmother, Grandma Alma, I learned joy and to be interested in others. Grandma Alma was always laughing; she found life wonderful despite many hardships. She never talked about herself and wanted to know how others were doing. When you were talking to her, you felt like you were the only person she knew. Even after her 100th birthday, she was still active and loving life. I need that root to grow deeper.
Take some time this week to reflect on where your roots are from and be thankful that you came from good stock and your roots are deep.