Estimated reading time: 3 minute(s)

tree_with_rootsDeep under the flourishing leaves, and the towers branches, and the succulent fruits which garner all the deserved and proper attention, are the roots.

Hidden roots spread far and wide, providing the foundation of what you see above the ground. The visible draws from its roots the beginnings of its life, mixed with the elements added to it above, producing that which we know and see and of which we partake.

This is not only a simple overview of the biological processes of flora—it’s also true of us.

This past week we spent many hours and days intentionally tapping into my roots. There were celebrations of decades of marriage and long decades of life. My mother’s oldest sister celebrated fifty years of marriage, and my father’s father celebrated ninety years of breathing the air of this planet. Both occasions worthy to note and commemorate.

As these were noteworthy events, they drew family from far and wide. Relatives from many branches of the tree assembled in one of the main roots. The branches now extend far across this country and the next, but just one, or two, or three generations back, all seem to find their roots in Southwestern Ohio.

And so that is where we gathered. At the root.

But it’s not just a place. The roots were remembered through stories and photos and more stories as we gathered in this place.

Stories of a grandpa that I really don’t know—he died when I was barely a teenager, and was mostly estranged from all of his family for much of my mother’s life.

Stories of a tall, kind, gentle great-grandpa—a cherished favorite of my oldest aunt. After hearing the stories, I would have loved to have met and known him, too.

Stories of current generations of family whom, because of geographic distance, we only see very infrequently. Learning of the lives they currently lead upon their various branches of the tree.

Stories of a distant, foreign land which was once my home. Different language, different culture, but part of my root system. And thankfully, plenty of time to enjoy tales from, and new friends from this part of my roots.

New Faces of those who also share this tree whom I have either not seen since my childhood, or some whom I have not ever met. Most of those gathering to celebrate the man who is father to my father completing nine decades of life.

Stories of relatives I only know as a concept. Not always positive stories. Life is messy.

But it is part of my root system.

What a week. So full of life, present and past. Embraces, laughs, even tears. Tapping nearly every root, drinking deeply of as much as we could soak up in seven short days.

And we are full. We leave refreshed, replenished.

And still wanting more.

Thankfully, this is not an end. Not yet. There will be an end. A turning of the page. And a new page beginning. New branches. New fruit.

But the same roots.

Today I am thankful for roots. And I want to know more. Explore different root systems. Deeper root systems. Even just look closer at those we tapped a bit this week.

And I’d encourage you to do the same. Perhaps you already do… but if you do not, please schedule a conversation, or even better, a trip … to know your roots.

What we are right now, today, is built upon our roots. Mixed with the conditions of our lives (sun, water, air, weather) but built on our roots.

And today, I am so grateful for a week of exploring my own.

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