We used to have two trees in front of our house.  The kids loved to climb them.  Their leaves were beautiful in the fall.  They offered amazing shade in the summer. 

The only problem was as the trees grew tall, the roots started to grow like crazy under the surface.  The sidewalk became warped and lifted high on one side.  Small knots started appearing in our yard. And then the knots and roots started to appear in our neighbors yard.  We could have lived with the sidewalk, and our yard, but when it started to disturb others, and could potentially effect their plumbing we knew we had to do something.  Somewhere a long the way someone tried to remedy the situation, long before we moved in.  There was extra dirt put around the base of the tree, but what grew under the surface wasn’t going away. 

You never know what’s under the surface.  For a long time, before the cement under my feet was broken a part, before I started to see the ground under me become uneven… I had a lot of roots.  Roots that spread from the foundation of my being and became my truth. No one could see them. I could feel them.  Under the surface.  Threatening, menacing this safe little place in my heart.   The place I’d always held Hope.  

So we took out the sidewalk.  We were expecting roots but never anticipated the size and tremendous amount that had grown there.     They went every which way and were tough.  They were entrenched deep in the earth, and the dirt surrounded and protected them. As it should be.  What had started out as a big job, was becoming even bigger as we had to saw and chop and splice into the earth to untangle years of roots. 

My roots were Self Doubt.  Guilt was a huge solid root.  Shame spread out.  Fear and anxiety intertwined.  Self criticalness, low self esteem, low self worth grew like little fingers and held on tight.   Sadness and Despair were the roots that were starting to sprout on the surface.  And they didn’t just effect me.   That’s the worst part about this kind of stuff.  It does impact others.  Everything we go through impacts someone else. 

Don’t ever for a minute think your pain doesn’t influence others. Your life, your choices impact others, even if on the surface they don’t show it.  And don’t think for a minute that people won’t eventually find out what’s under the surface…at church this past week the priest said that sometimes the stones in which we build our foundation become our biggest stumbling blocks…all of those things we put on top to hide those roots don’t stop them.  Eventually it all collapses, if we don’t know what we are standing on.  If we aren’t willing to face what’s under the surface. 

After clearing and spending a small fortune, we had to put in fresh new cement.  It was so white and beautiful.  We placed our hands so they rested in the cement forever.  We placed a St. Michael the Patron Saint of Police and the protector of our families Medal next to our hands.  Everyone’s hand went one way…except for mine.  

My Family.  The thing that as I exposed every root and pain was the what I kept going back to and finding hope in.  Jonah’s changing voice, but still magical little boy laugh and his steadfast faithfulness.  Daniel’s complete and total selflessness, and the way he will always step up to help someone else.   Micah’s hilarious sense of humor, the way he snuggles, and how much he loves home.  Grace’s constant singing, moving, loving presence that is so needed always.  My Dyp who rests his hand on my hip as he sleeps, who tells me I’m beautiful every day, who makes coffee every night so it’s ready the next day.  Stronger than roots, because this is the stuff that sits on the surface of my heart.  When I need hope…I know where to turn.

And I find comfort.  In the little graces God gives.  In the prayers of my Mother. In the fact that there was no line at the Post Office. In the little girl who wanted me to hold her today, and leaned on me. That we survived the first day of school. In my friends.  Little graces that remind me that last year I said Yes, to what God had in store. Even though I was left exposed.  But I believe I’m getting closer to the answer…Last week as I argued in prayer, why should I talk to women, write for Mothers and Daughters? Why call me, the one with the roots?  The one who is so exposed?  And there it was…Because you get it.  I get the broken.  I get the tired.  I get the thirsty.  I get the roots. And today I see hope.  

The trees are gone.  We don’t have shade anymore, but we have bright light.  Things are out in the open.  The sky is clear above me and I know that all this working hard at life is starting to work.  

Because I’m still here.