Getting Back to Your Roots

Look at the sculpture, “Roots,” in the photo above that Canadian artist, Emily Carr created. The accompanying description reads:

An upheaval is good, this digging about and loosening of the earth about one’s roots. I think I shall start a new growth—not the furious forcing of young growth but a more leisurely expansion, fed from maturity, like the topmost boughs reflecting the blue of the sky.

If she could talk, what would she say? Perhaps something like this?

I’ve traveled through life striving to fill these big shoes. They aren’t the most fashionable stiletto heels, but nevertheless, they have caused me to feel off balance. They are a soothing pastel color, but they have often felt like rugged heavy scuffed up work boots.

I seem to be poured into these shoes like thick concrete, these rigid, inflexible weights that seem to immobilize me such that I can only go in one direction. Staying pristine and perfect seem like driving powers. While my feet were beautifully created, now they are they are soiled with the toil of life.

My spindly legs are weak. The muscles have spent years trying to maneuver life in those slip-on shoes. I could have easily kicked them to the side and chosen a smaller version, but it was clearly my decision to wear them day after day after day.

I favor my most comfy pair of jeans, but I remain in a dress. It is simple and tailored. No fussiness here. Look the part. Fit the part. Keep inner expressions hidden away in the back of the closet.

My eyes are closed. I long to block it all out. Don’t look back. It’s too painful to see the years washed away before my eyes. I scowl. I frown. What do I make of it all? I scratch my head. I think. I usually think first and then my heart catches up. I suddenly perceive how my head is large like my feet. Two parts have controlled the whole.

I’ve been unaware of what were once long thick golden locks. I stop to notice each strand and am taken aback by their dry and spindly look. How did this happen? When did a part of me literally shrivel up and die? I remain frozen and filled with grief.

What do I wish? I decide. Life isn’t over yet. There is still time. There can be a new chapter. The big shoes are still there. Can’t make too many changes all at once. That’s the old pattern. Start by donning your garden apron. Add the embellishment of a flower. Fill the pockets with new tools for cultivation, scissors to cut back the dead weeds and string to tie up the overgrowth. But those gloves. They will remain stuck in my pocket. No use for them yet. I want to get my hands dirty in the soil, to feel and smell the richness of the earth as I dig deeply.

So, I begin playing in my garden. I find treasures there hidden deep under rocks. Suddenly my senses come back to life and I am aware of something new. It could feel heavy near the crown of my head but actually it is extremely light. It could hurt as it protrudes with new life. But, it is a marvel. I want to smile. I don’t dare open my eyes to look.

What if the new life suddenly disappears? It’s not that strong yet. It could die of drought or pestilence. You never know what the weather might bring.

Then a voice reminds me. No matter the circumstances I can choose to thrive. I am a survivor. I will not stay stuck. I will lean on the one who gently nudges my soul toward a place of balance in Him. I am reminded that my striving will not bring forth growth. I give myself permission to keep my eyelids closed until I’m ready to open them. I can keep on my big shoes. But in His timing, He will re-form me into His original intention. Then my soul will smile. I’ll open my eyes widely to take in the new creation.


Kathy has experience as an elementary educator, teacher trainer, adjunct professor, and has served as Family Resource Director for a major hospital. Kathy is a Kentucky Licensed Pastoral Counselor and is credentialed as a Registered Play Therapist/Supervisor by the American Association of Play Therapy. She is owner of a private practice, Path of Life Ministry, in Wilmore, KY.


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