I have a few orchids that were given to me by friends. One of them was looking very unhappy with one lone leaf. I was thinking that perhaps it was ready for orchid heaven. When I pulled on the leaf, the roots held firm. They told me, “I am still alive. Not only that, I am strong. So, pull back.”
It made me think of our roots and the roots of our lives. Sometimes we look a little weathered on the outside, but on the inside, deep down, we are still strong. Imagine tracing a leaf down into the earth in which it is growing and exploring the deep underneath. There, holding strong, are the roots. If they are healthy, the plant is healthy. If our roots are healthy, then we are healthy.
I have had plants that have experienced “root rot” when too much water has been given. This makes me think of those of us who have had far too much watering with perhaps over-stimulation, conversations that were less than helpful, unhealthy diets.
And then there are the roots that have dried out with too little attention. The times when we have needed the stimulation, but did not reach out or when we just withdrew and literally, dried up.
My orchid taught me in a second that roots are healthy, even when we can’t see them. But, when I think about it, we are always experiencing them on some level. For people, a kind remark, an astute summation in a conversation, a strong response to an unwelcomed criticism. For plants, one lone healthy leaf.
Roots. They are always there. Tend them and you tend the soul.
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