Last Friday’s windstorm brought down our 80-year-old maple. The tree crown occupied our whole front yard and blocked the front door, but it is the exposed, splintered root system that stirred reflection.
Old trees have an aura of reliability, of permanence. Now, except for the shattered roots, this one is gone, and I’m glum. Looking at those roots, it brings to mind those times that I have felt uprooted; maybe you know that feeling, too. It’s when we were so sure of something or someone, so positive of their constancy and stability, and then a crack appeared, and then things just fell apart. What we counted on to fix us to our foundation and to keep our lives whole has disappeared or is teetering.
What do you do when you feel uprooted? I can’t say there is an easy answer, and my experiences have not all been positive. But as I age, maybe I’m learning. I used to count on those roots—the history, hopes, people, and shiny promises from the past—but there was no real safety there. Instead, I’m feeling for the ground beneath and around me, the rock that does not move. This ground is God’s promise of constancy, and it is holy ground. When we can’t seem to calm our fears, we may find holy ground around people of faith. We can read it in Scripture. We can hear it at St. Alban’s in the wise teaching and counsel of our clergy. We feel it through the loving compassion of our fellow travelers on our often-bumpy road.
For the rest of this Lent, I hope we might go spiritually barefoot on holy ground and sever the roots that have broken, that have tripped us up or let us down. And when Easter dawns, may we be ready to plant anew.