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February 27, 2023

Planted to Be Rooted

St. Clair

Humans are like plants: they’ll blow over if they’re not grounded.

There’s a difference between being planted in the ground versus planted in a pot, though obviously both states are more stable than not being planted at all. Roots can grow in a pot, but they are limited and confined, hence inhibiting the growth of the plant. Roots in the earth, however, can grow deep and wide.

The stronger the root system, the more a plant can grow, and it becomes more capable of withstanding tragedy. We humans are the same way.

It’s like building your figurative house on the rocks instead of the sand. People see the value in building their homes on a firm foundation as opposed to one that easily shifts. But what about when your home—aka life—takes a direct hit? That’s where roots come in.

One Memorial Day I was mourning the loss of my family through the process of divorce, as well as having to move away from a beautiful scenic area. I watched several sappy Hallmark movies, and they uplifted my spirit a little. However, when the movies were over and I walked away from the TV, the loss of love and missing romance in my life hit me strongly. I started to cry, but at the same time I did not want to fall apart.

In the midst of this, God’s spirit nudged my spirit to go out the front door. I didn’t understand it, but I went out. As I stood on the front porch looking out, I asked God what I was doing out there. He drew my attention to the tree in front of me and said,

“It’s not whole, but it’s full.”

Those words made me cry again, but with a different connotation. See, I know something about this tree that is not immediately obvious if you don’t know its history.

Because of all the recent rain and sunshine at the time of this photograph (taken on the day I’m describing), you can see how this mature tree is full of life. Here is another photo taken from the street, so you can see more of the tree’s glory.

The tree is strong and healthy and full of life. It is not obvious it has also lost half of itself.

We locals call it “The October Snowstorm.” It happened late October in 1997, more than two decades ago. This particular tree was already a mature tree then. I was in high school. I love the smell of air when it is snowing, so I had my window cracked open that night. The sound was a cracking, a breaking, a creaking, a groaning combination followed by a loud crash—and then silence.

Rushing to the window, I could see part of the tree had fallen down. (Though it was night, the snow reflected the street lights, so it was actually quite “light” outside.) My sister and I ran downstairs and looked out the bay window. The tree had literally split in half. Half of it was still standing, the other half lay on the ground.

On the opposite side of the tree from the side shown in the photo below, you find the evidence of the event.

It may look like the tree is rotting inside. And, in a sense, yes, it is. The back of that hole, though, is where the break occurred. What’s rotting is the scar from the event. What was on the inside of the tree and then suddenly became on the outside, is now, because of the tree’s growth after the damage, back on the inside. Over twenty years later and evidence of the loss is still clearly visible, but it has not overtaken the tree.

Rather, the stronger part of the tree—the part that stood through the storm—has grown. The break in half happened within the span of a few moments; the tree has continued to grow for over two decades, but it has not fully replaced what it lost. And it never will. But the tree did regrow where it needed to so it could reach out and have branches all around itself again, which is the way it is designed to live, and the way it needs to be in order to live.

The tree has faced additional hardships since October 1997, such as suddenly having branches removed that were too close to the house for our comfort. But it keeps growing where it is thriving. The tree comes across as full of life. It shows its life to the world, not its losses.

Despite the direct hit and the resulting significant loss, the tree survived because of its root system. Both sides of the tree were on the same firm foundation. The foundation could not protect the upper portion of the tree from the storm, but it safeguarded the root system. The system that provides nourishment and support to the visible part of the tree was not damaged by the storm. Rather, after the storm, it continued to provide nourishment and support to the still-living part of the tree, and the tree grew.

It’s important to have a firm foundation, and it’s important to have roots in that foundation. The deeper and wider our roots, the more nourishment and support we have. Growing roots is tough. Establishing a support system all around us takes hard work and time. But it’s worth the effort.

This tree is not whole, and it never will be. But it is FULL of LIFE.

Losing my other half does not mean I have lost my potential to be full of life and continue to thrive. Losing something significant in your life does not mean you cannot grow and be full of life again.

Allowing yourself to be planted (secured in one place) enables you to grow roots (have a support system), which in turn provides necessary elements of life. We live in a broken world, and I have yet to meet a “whole” person; we are all broken in some way. But just because our lives are not whole does not mean our lives cannot be full. If we root ourselves in God and His people, we’ll have more life pouring into us, which enables us to showcase more life to the world. It’s a Life Cycle.

So be Planted. And Rooted. And LIVE.

Adapted from https://www.katiemariestclair.com/post/it-s-not-whole-but-it-s-full

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