Friday, August 27, 2010

Rootedness



We may be moving again soon. And considering the way God has worked in our lives thus far, it wouldn’t be surprising. We’ve moved 14 times in 21 years of marriage. We’ve lived in Mississippi, Iowa, Massachusetts, Alabama, and North Carolina several times. And we always hate it. No one likes to be uprooted.

I used to worry about the children, how they would adjust to so much upheaval, so much losing of things. My children are introverts; how often will they readily make new friends, if they fear losing them again? I always longed as a child to have ONE PLACE to which I belonged – that sense of rootedness that I envied in other children who never moved. I hated for my kids to grow up with that same hole in the middle of their hearts, an empty spot that should be called “home.”

And then along came Facebook. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking – that time-sucking, mind-numbing website. But Facebook reminded me of how many friends I have, in how many places. I carry on conversations with Annie and BethAnn and Tammy and Beth and Carolyn – friends who don’t know each other, but I know them, from all the different places I’ve lived. What variety!

So God gave me a gift by uprooting me, again and again. Moving makes friends.

I’ve been anticipating this next move for a while. Back in January I bought six rosemary bushes at Lowes' after-Christmas sale. They were trimmed to look like little Christmas trees. I brought them home, kept them inside by a window, watered them faithfully, and sometime in the spring, put them in the ground. I now have a nice rosemary hedge shooting up along the edge of my patio. (That's them in the photo above.)

But two of the plants, I put in pots. I didn’t put them in the ground, because I wanted to be able to take them with me when we move. I LOVE rosemary. When you walk by it, if you gently pull your fingers up along a branch, the scent lingers in your hand. When you water it, the scent fills the air. They’re hardy and perennial. They grow large and strong. And rosemary is so delicious in chicken! I couldn’t bear to buy them, tend them, and then leave them all behind.

The rosemary in the pots is doing well, tall and healthy. I’ve rooted it in transferable soil, prepared it from the beginning for a move. God is our gardener; he knows we are plants that need to be moveable. We should plant our hearts in soil, in pots, that will move easily. It’s too easy to sink our souls’ toes into the local soil, so that God has to uproot us painfully when it’s time to leave. We cling even to good things: our dear church, our best friends, our perfect house, that wonderful school, our favorite activities. But they are still just soil, and we should be careful about our rootedness in them. Where are we rooted? Our souls are rooted forever in God; he is our “pot,” and in him we can move anywhere. For children, family should be the soil into which they’re planted. Christian parents should foster family attachments primarily, so that a family move still gives children security. If they’re attached to other things more than family, the move will be painful. And we parents should be sunk so deeply into the soil of our marriages, that when we move, we always take our best friends.

I’m taking my rosemaries with me. I hope they will be a daily reminder of my place in God’s garden. He’s moving me around to waft the scent of his love in many places, until he plants me deeply in the soil of heaven.

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