Roots That Tether My Story

Roots That Tether My Story

Last week I wrote about how home is not a fixed place in my world, but rather an ever changing place.  Yet, despite not having a geographical longitude and latitude that I can fit to the word home, I do have roots.  Roots are the links that tether my story inside of a greater story.

I grew up in a small town.  It was a place where people knew my name.  And those that didn’t know my name knew my family.  Many times I was identified asking whether I “belonged” to my dad or one of my uncles.  There was no question which family I belonged to, only a needed clarification as to which branch of the family tree.

I grew up in a stable community.  I walked to the same High School that still displayed my father’s graduation picture in the main hall and I kept my horse at the barn of the man my father had worked for when he himself was young.  My paternal grandparents have lived in the same house since before I was born and my maternal grandparents also have deep connections in their community just miles down the road.   My mom’s dad recently celebrated fifty years of perfect attendance in Rotary.  I grew up where lives were planted deep in the soil of community.

I have roots and I’ve often wondered what it would have been like to stay planted in the garden in which I first grew.

But I was born a dreamer, a sojourner, a wanderer.  The roots of my becoming were birthed in the beautiful ground of soil that had been deeply nourished by faith and tested by trials, but like a seed on the wind I find myself planted in a far away field.

In reflecting on home and roots I found my mind drifting back in time to this beautiful article by Sarah Clarkson in which she speaks of the difference between Dreamers and Keepers.

“Dreamers,” Sarah says, “stand on one hand, and keepers sit on the other. Restive and restless-eyed souls are the dreamers. They are the hungry-hearted, with wanderlust thrumming in their blood and eager brains, ever in search of what lies a fingertip just out of reach. Truth or beauty, treasure or friend, they would risk their life to find the unseen ideal. In the annals of time, the dreamers play out like high, bright notes in a symphony. St. Brendan had to find heaven if it could be found on earth. The call of it just beyond him was a song he could not resist. Galileo felt that all was not as he had been told. Ulysses wanted to sail beyond one more star. So it is with all dreamers. They are the explorers, the artists, the sailors, and searchers who ever beat down the walls of the known, intent upon finding what has never been found.

The keepers wait to welcome them home. They are the glad-eyed and frank-faced souls, who settle and stay with a faithful joy. The song of the unseen troubles them not; they feel instead the dance of the seasons, the cadence of days as time sings in the here and now. The present reaches a powerful hand from the deep earth and roots them, happy, to their one place in the wide world. They craft and build, they keep what is civil and lovely alive, they master the art of life lived richly. In the symphony of time, they are the rich-throated hum of low violins, the myriad voices who weave the steady, marching song of the earth. Keepers are the good kings who set their hearts to cultivation instead of conquest, the Jane Austens who revel in the merriment of every day. They are the rulers and builders, the farmers and reapers of harvests, the faithful who keep all that is good in place throughout the ages.”

The article goes on to say that while we default to one or the other we all have bits of both the Dreamer and the Keeper within and I love how our creative God has given us such diversity of nature.  So many times I have looked at the Keepers in my life and given thanks for those who know exactly where home is when asked.  The joy I find in going “home” to the places that formed my past, to those whose voices sing the song of their one true place in the world, balances the bittersweet joy of a thousand goodbyes and a million ever changing moments that this dreamer carries in her heart.

So today I give thanks for roots and wings, for dreamers and keepers and the beautiful God who imagines it all.