Webster’s Dictionary tells us about the taproot 1 : a primary root that grows vertically downward and gives off small lateral roots. 2 : the central element or position in a line of growth or development.
We are now more than two Sundays into this 2018 Advent journey. Maybe this is as good a time as any to stop and reflect on what we have learned and what we feel we are continuing to learn.
What I have grown comfortable with as I move through this precious life that I’ve been given, is to accept grace every chance I can. What I mean is that when there are chances to rest and reflect, I do my best to accept those moments. When I come to something that resonates, sings inside me, then I try to stop for a bit and listen. There are so many messages all around us, and every now and then these messages hold the most amazing gifts. The Ah-Ha's often come when I recognize the gift, and then take a moment to breathe in deeply. I have learned much from the gift of waiting on grace.
This past weekend when 'ole Diego was blowing through, I took a walk in the rain and started thinking about roots. “Taproot” bubbled up to the surface for me. Not because I know anything about trees or about their root systems, let alone the verbiage thereof. Not because it’s a favorite word for me, or a touchstone that has been a guide. It just came, pulled up a chair and stayed for a bit. Taproot came completely as a gift.
So for the past couple of days I’ve been wandering and wondering about taproots, what they are, what their function is, what they can symbolize. I've been thinking about what taproots look like and their place in the world, in nature's place and purpose. And this idea has been companioning me throughout this past week. As I have been listening closer, that notion became singular, taproot.
Taproot calls me to look openly and gratefully for what my “central line for growth or development” is. For me, for right now, how would I identity this energy, grounding, life-giving source? In these days when we are so doggone busy and full and saturated, how then are we to get back to our roots? Is it possible in these growing darker, growing colder days to lean down and kneel on the ground? Can we roll up our sleeves and dig our fingers into the black earth of my native Illinois, or the red southern clay? Can we stop all the busy-ness around us, kneel down and with our hands in the dirt feel what it feels like to feel it? The cold, moist soil? And even more, can we dig even deeper still and touch the roots that connect us to life?
Seasons like Advent, each year pull me back to my faith. These days of moving through peace, hope, joy and love, moving through through faith, hope and love, moving through December days, these days faithfully turn me back. Slowly, sometimes painfully slowly. Imperceptibility most days, until…until I find my breathing slowing (all on her own) and I have a sense of peace. Until I hear the melodies and words of a treasured, ageless carol and feel the strength of hope. Until I see the holiday lights on these dark, dark nights and celebrate joy. Until I am enveloped in a hug that holds my spirit as well as my body, or receive a pat on the arm or hand that somehow understands what is in my heart-of-hearts and accept love.
For me as I am moving through Advent, I am coming to connect and re-connect with my taproot. This one who leads me with only one candle far off in the distance. This one who stands strong when the winter winds blow. This one who calls me by name, as well as each and every person I encounter today. This taproot that is planted deeper than we can start to see, let alone get our hearts around. This t a p r o o t strong enough to hold us all. For our whole lives. And then some.
Thanks to Susie Gentry for many of these pictures