Lemon Trees

Storms make trees take deeper roots.~ Dolly Parton

Over the last week I’ve had to deal with many storms, from raging tornadoes to mild showers. I’m not done dealing with the damage these metaphorical storms caused in my life, but I am making progress. Just like meteorological storms, these metaphorical storms had many causes as well as confluences. The one thing they all have in common is the impact on me.

We’ve all heard about making lemonade. What happens if your lemon tree is destroyed? I’ve had some pretty crazy things happen this summer that fall under the lemon category from a major car accident to a life-altering new diagnosis. My friends would tell you I’ve smiled and sailed right on through, lemonade in hand. In truth, I haven’t. I’ve struggled mightily with some of these things. I’ve tried to rationalize why things happened to me. I’ve gone through at least some of the stages of grief around each event. And I’m still standing.

The last major event nearly knocked me over. I fled back to the safety of my family. The place I knew would be shelter in a storm. Once the eye of this last storm passed over, I realized that my roots were deeper than I thought. While some of these roots are definitely on the surface, others run right down to the well. I discovered that I need both in order to thrive.

Last night I was on the phone with another friend. Her life has also been uprooted, more so than mine. As we talked, I let our conversation flow over me and turn about in my mind. The thought that the points we focus on the most become our lives popped up. When I focus on my health, everything else seems to fade away. When I focus on my family, the rest of my problems melt into the ground. I do have many things on my mind and I can multi-task, but when the big items hit, they get my full attention. This can be both a positive and a negative. It’s positive, because obviously a major health issue demands attention. It’s negative because I become so wrapped up in that focal point, that I let everything else go. Then when I’m ready to return to “normal,” I find that normal has changed. It can be quite disconcerting.

The key is to keep redefining normal. My normal is not your normal. As I’ve previously said, we are all different. But by re-prioritizing and trying to keep the bigger picture in mind, I will grow deeper roots. These things that interrupt my life are but leaves on a tree. They will eventually fall away and become insignificant. My roots, however, need nurturing. I need to remember to water them frequently. The shallow ones will eventually serve their purpose as well and will wither away. The deeper roots, the ones that make me strong, will grow even deeper and help keep me anchored when the next storm rolls through.

The next time a storm rolls through your life, think about your roots. Even better, start thinking about them now. Have you been watering them enough? Have you cultivated some strong anchor roots? Do you have enough surface roots to hold you in place through a mild shower? Right now, I think I’m going to go pick up the old watering can.

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