Some days I get this anxious feeling and I think, “What are we going to do today?” During this season of life with the addition of a new baby a lot of activities are not easy for us. We are home a lot and there are days I am losing my mind, headed down a dark road and I have a choice. Do I do something about it?
Getting outside is one of the activities that helps me find the light. I could be in a negative place, go out for a walk and realize how grateful I am for my family, for the ability to walk, for the gift of nature. I find peace on our walks, my mind stops running and I am present.
When we are out on a hike the kids always notice the roots. Hugo runs along trying to keep up with his sister and BAM. He trips on a root and face plants to the ground. Sometimes he hops right up, other times he needs a minute. Last week he started asking questions about the roots. I admired his innocence and genuine interest. I don’t think about the little things like roots, I find them to be a nuisance, I don’t want them in my yard or anywhere that I could trip over them. I would love to cut them on our hiking path so that we would have no more falls.
However, the trees need their roots. They provide nutrients for the tree to grow, and anchor them in the ground so that they stand straight and can’t be ripped up during a storm. They stretch far and wide to provide a stable foundation. They prefer to stay below ground, but the impact of heavy rain and a lot of foot traffic can cause the roots to be seen.
We all have roots, the older you are the further they stretch. They start growing in your childhood and different experiences make them grow and split and multiply. Each experience adds to the foundation, good or bad, they build your character. It’s easy to take a bad experience and put it out of the mind, almost like it never happened. Like a deep root in the ground, this experience grows in the darkest part of your mind, and you try to keep it there and forget about it, but you are still growing that root by coping in other ways. As that root gets bigger and bigger and further from the tree its easier for the impact of a storm to bring it to the surface. In life one thing leads to another, one poor choice after another and you hit rock bottom. All of your roots are at the surface. You realize you have to deal with them. You can’t keep tripping on them because as you trip its harder and harder to catch yourself.
Some days I feel like giving up, screaming why, and ignoring the truth. I had deep roots that were uncovered in a storm. I tried to forget them over the years and coped in other ways. I didn’t realize they were causing harm and effecting the roots that feed me life, anchor me, and keep me strong. I got to a place so low I had to start digging deep to find those roots I tried so hard to forget. I had to examine them closely and make peace with them allowing new growth in me.
Digging into my pain and darkness was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I never wanted to know the truth or relive the pain. But by uncovering the darkness, the light broke through. I experienced true joy for the first time in my life. I wasn’t wondering what’s looming around the corner. I wasn’t worrying all the time about what everyone thought of me. I wasn’t desperate to fit in. I finally realized I belong. Perfectly imperfect, crazy, sweet, silly me belongs. No matter my size, my clothes, my hair, my lack of make up, I belong. No matter my ridiculous dance videos, or creepy art I love to create, I belong.
I grew new roots. I can’t replace the old ones. But I can shine light on them and realize they are beautiful even in their broken dark state. They shaped me to be who I am, and I am forever grateful for them.
If you have some deep dark roots you’ve been ignoring, I want to encourage you to find them. You may think you are doing well or getting by, and you don’t need to go deep, but eventually those roots will surface and sometimes unpleasantly. It’s easier to hurt someone than face the truth. It’s easier to have an addiction instead of wrestling with your pain. It’s easier to get so wrapped up in yourself, you forget to think of others and seek gratitude. It's more important to please everyone than take care of yourself. It's easier to stay busy than face the pain. It's easier to put on a mask than be honest with those you love.
I don’t want any of this for you. It’s time to be vulnerable, face those roots, and share your truth with someone. It will be scary, deep roots are incredibly strong and fear has a way of consuming us. However, I think having a truly solid foundation is important in order to weather the coming storms and experience true joy in your life. As Brene Brown says, "We can do hard things." There is hope.