A wise woman once said to me that there are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of these, she said, is roots, the other, wings.
Quoted by Hodding Carter in “Where Main Street Meets the River”
We had our annual family reunion last week. It was full of pun-offs, adventures, and close living quarters. We feasted on fresh Carolina peaches, sweet corn and brick oven pizza.
I realized as I listened to the laughter and conversation swirling around the dinner table that our stories are entwined in so many ways. We share history as well as DNA. We share losses and joys. We fight to the death to keep the essential, clarifying, and off-debated Oxford comma. (See what I did there?)
We shared peaceful views at sunset. Hiking at childhood haunts. Competitive card games. And hugs. Lots of hugs.
The genealogists in the family (my mom being the most experienced) will share interesting bits of family trivia. Through years of research, Mom, (as well as my Dad and maternal grandmother) have uncovered when a specific ancestor emigrated to the US, what wars they fought in, how they worshipped, and where they homesteaded. The ancestral “fan chart” is impressive with the names and dates going back to ten generations!
For my daughters, I wish for them this same sense of rootedness and belonging. A place to be accepted and encircled with love. A reminder that they are loved and prayed for daily. A retreat from the world when its suckiness seems to out-weigh the promises of the future. A secure take-off. A safe landing zone. And enough love in their buckets to spill out into the world around them.
It’s something I wish for all… Not a wall. Not belligerence and hate. Not ridicule and judgmental scorn.
It’s really quite simple:
Roots. Belonging. Acceptance. Love.
The true mark of someone who loves God is one that demonstrates their rootedness in the Divine. And the fruit that grows from it.
You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.
Matthew 7:16-20 (NLT)