Strength – Dig your Roots Deep!   Leave a comment

I was recently assisting a friend with a broken water line. The area that was broken was less than a foot from his water meter, which sat precariously in the shadow of a large tree. As we were digging and clearing around the broken pipe, we discovered the intricate, yet powerful root system of the tree. There was particular branch of the root that caught our attention; it was approximately half an inch in diameter and had grown through the concrete wall surrounding the water meter. We were amazed to that to begin with, but we where even more in awe the more we investigated. The root had not just grown through the concrete; it had formed a perfect hole for itself in the concrete without breaking or cracking the concrete around it. It was this remarkable root that was ultimately determined to be the culprit for causing the leak.

 This experience got me thinking about life and recovery from so many different directions, but here is the most clear and simple summary

“If we develops roots which are strong and deep then when we are faced with the most difficult experiences, we will not only survive, but grow stronger and more confident and reassured in our selves.”

Roots can be used to symbolic refer to so many different things: Hope, values, faith, history, courage, beliefs, experiences, family, self-confidence and esteem, trust, etc.

To me, the first idea that comes to mind when discussing roots as an analogy for our lives is our values.  As stated in a previous post:

“Our values are the foundation of who we are; they are the basis for how we see the world around us, our beliefs on how things “should be.“

 What is the foundation of a tree? It is the root system. As goes the roots, so goes the rest of the tree. The same is true in reference to our values. If I have good strong values that I hang on to, then I am more confident in who I am, thus more confident and willing and able to make difficult, positive decisions for the direction of my life and recovery. However, sometimes even those with the deepest and strongest of roots get shaken under severe stress or when they experience some kind of trauma. What do we do then? Where do we turn? This, my friends, is exactly what I am talking about. We should turn to our roots, those base values that are the most important to us, faith, family, friends, etc. These will be similar for most of us, but must be defined by each of us individually. I know personally, even as I have listed them here, Faith and family are the two values and branches of my roots that are the most important, and when I am hurting or in need, that is where I dig in, that is what I “hang on to”.

For you, your roots may be friends, your “program”, a sponsor or a 12 step meeting which you attend. But you have to have something to “hang on to.”

 That is not to say that I can go through life with shallow roots and only grab hold of them when I am in trouble. If you pull to hard on a plant that does not have well established strong root system, what happens? You pull it up and it does not withstand the pressure. You can’t just grab hold when you see the storm coming; you must work at strengthening your roots when the sun is shining.

 So am I saying that as long as we work at keeping our roots deep and strong, we will never fail or fall? Absolutely not! We are all still human, and fallible. In fact, it is actually when we are faced with storms and challenges and we are unsuccessful despite our best efforts that we grow stronger and our roots grow stronger. I may not be the first to finish the race, but as long as I finish and don’t give up, then I am still a winner. Some the greatest lesson that trials teach us is patience and perseverance.  No matter what “the world” tells us, we do NOT have to finish every race in first place or be the thinnest, wel1-dressed or have the most friends. As long as we are working to be a better person today than we were yesterday, then we should be happy and content in that, even if it seems like a longs slow process. It is!

 I found the following quotes to fit rather appropriately:

“Storms make trees take deeper roots.”  Dolly Parton

 “Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”  Arnold Schwarzenegger

 “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.”                 Mary Anne Radmacher

We will make wrong choices and go down the wrong paths sometimes, but if we don’t give up and keep working, we will learn new skills and find our way back to where we started, thus developing courage to take risks and develop faith and confidence in our abilities to just survive, but overcome even difficult circumstances and experiences.

So whether your skies are sunny and cloudless or you are in the midst of a hurricane, hang on and cling to your roots. Turn your focus and energy to those things that are the MOST important you and see that you are stronger, braver and more confident in the end.

Dig Deep and Hang On!!


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