at the root of it.

bare tree 2

ro͞ot/

noun

1.  the part of a plant that attaches it to the ground or to a support, typically underground, conveying water and nourishment to the rest of the plant via numerous branches and fibers."cacti have deep and spreading roots"

2. the basic cause, source, or origin of something 

So often I ache for warmer weather and more light.  When it's cold, Matt and I'll dream up all the places we'd rather be - sipping sweet tea down south, lying on a beach out west.

But then it takes the steady, unfailing three: a cup of coffee, an honest conversation, a dear friend.  Those three beg me to see beyond the cold, dark mornings and my dry hands.

She talked of listening to the seasons.

Of allowing your body to ebb and flow like the wind, embrace the light and the darkness.  Respond to what's already happening.  Petals and leaves turning inward.  It's okay if you do too.

Listen. to. the. seasons.

It seemed so simple and right.

bare tree

I think of the trees - so strong - yet at the very same time, so bare and raw and exposed.  They have no leaves to hide under.  No vines wrapping in and out of branches.  It's as if they are resting.

But don't be mistaken, they are growing too // a constant state of growth and rest.

If they rest, why shouldn't we?  Can't we grow and rest?

But when I think about trees and growth and rest - I think of what continues to thrive beneath the deep soil - roots.  Trees need roots.  We can't see them but we know, so well, that they are there.  And in the winter, they rest too.

"They are not dead but rather they overwinter in a resting phase with essential life processes continuing at a minimal rate."

We have roots too // more than the where-you-came-from kind.

Roots are the foundation - the things you're willing to wake up extra early for, the things you celebrate out loud, or hide beneath.  Roots are the beginning, middle, and end of our story.  They influence our walk, change our direction, ignite our fears and passions.

Roots are your first crush, the way it felt to have your tender heart broken, finding your tribe - that ones that surround you, pick you up and help carry the load.

Roots are not being picked for the soccer team, failing a math test, hearing the popular girls say mean words about you in the bathroom - while you hide in the stall.

Roots are a teacher telling you - you're a really good writer.

Roots are the things you cling too - because it's who you are.  But, they are also the things you try and let go of - the pain, the insecurity, the doubt.

What if we asked ourselves: Who am I - at the root of it?  

I'll go first okay?

At the root of it, I want to say yes - always.  I want to stay up late and wake up early - I don't want to miss a beat.

At the root of it, I want to be there for you.  Meaning, I want to be there for every single person on this planet.  I want to remember every word, every bowl of soup, every tear.

At the root of it, I fear not being used, not doing something earth-shattering and life-changing - of being ordinary.

At the root of it, I want to make bread with my own two, young hands.  I want to feel the dough in between my fingers and have my arms ache form kneading.  I want to make everything by hand for that matter.

[Insert inner dialogue I have at the grocery store:  "Just buy the dang already made Pillsbury biscuits Maeve, you don't have time to make biscuits from scratch this week.  It's okay - folks won't mind friend."]

I want to break bread with strangers.  The man who comes into the bakery, with tired eyes, who orders a coffee.  On the rare occasion, he'll buy a slice a quiche.

When he only orders a coffee I slip him a warm cookie.

At the root of it, I want to be known and loved and choose forgiveness - over and over again, even though, in all honesty - forgiveness does not come easy for me.  [Forgive those girls in the bathroom Maeve - forgive them for all of it]

At the root of it, I want to know God.  Not as some figure, floating in the clouds, high up in the sky.  Or a damp, dusty room where a priest sat across from me on a hard, wooden chair and asked me to share all the icky stuff from the week - lying to my Mom, stealing bubble gum, forgetting to clean my room.

I want to know Him as a friend, as the One who knew every little thing - and loved me just the same.

And that means letting go of control, letting go of writing my own story and trying to manipulate the pieces so they'll fit together just how I want them too.

At the root of it, I want to listen more than I talk - in lobbies and bus stations and in the grocery store line.  I want to linger, put my phone away, and quit being in such a hurry - so I can hear your story, hear why, deep down, we are so, so similar.

I want to build bridges, break walls, hold orphans.

I want to give away everything I own and only keep the small stuff - the things that can fit in my backpack.  So I can come running to wherever the need might be.

I want to choose service over convenience.

Humility over pride.

Happiness over jealousy.

Forgiveness over anger.

Faith over fear.

At the root of it, I think we're all aching for something, all wrestling with the beauty and the pain, all wanting to be understood and heard.

I'm praying for your roots friend.

Praying for all the work they are doing. But more so, I am praying that as they grow, as we grow, we take time to rest too.

And I hope we never think, for one second, that when we rest we aren't growing.

Big, strong, raw things are happening folks - all. the. time.

When we simply take the time to listen.