My bride celebrated a birthday last month. (Someone pointed out that, as this is her first birthday in Ireland, she’s much younger than she thinks.) Now, we’ve been here ten months, and this is a nice long time in some regards. But put against the balance of I-won’t-say-how-many years, it’s a very short time indeed. All of our family are thousands of miles away. In fact, just about anyone we’ve known for more than a few months is nowhere to be found. How can one celebrate a big and important birthday when our roots are elsewhere?
I’d argue that our roots are not all elsewhere.
A friend gave us this illustration years ago. Like a grove of trees has roots constantly spreading and growing, so is our life. We have deep roots in Nevada, and in a lot of ways that will always be home. We grew deep roots in California, where we came in a short time to feel right at home as well. And guess what! We are sinking roots here in Dublin as well. I’ve spoken about roots before, and I think the illustration is still strong. Where we have roots in a community is where we have cultivated friendships and relationships. Our roots get tangled up with other people’s roots, and we all support and hold each other up. Thanks to the miracle of technology, we are nourished and refreshed by roots that are still thousands of miles west of here, through the support and encouragement of our friends and families far away. And, as Dorine saw very clearly last month, we have new roots in Ireland that are nourishing and supportive as well.
Practically speaking, it reminds me of this:
“Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 [NASB]
But I like this picture better:
“He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.” Psalm 1:3 [NASB]
Whether the stream of water is the River Liffey, the Carson River, or Berryessa Creek, we’re thankful for the roots God has allowed to grow in our lives. Even on her birthday, Dorine felt nourished and supported!
Is there someone in your life to whom you can reach out today?
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