Friday, December 2, 2011

Roots

Centerville, Utah yesterday (Dec 1st) had one of the worst windstorms on record.  Winds at around 9am Thursday were measured at 102 miles an hour.   My brother and I went out in the wind to see the neighborhood and check on things.  We had to come back a few times because it was dangerous and became incredibly hard to walk against the wind.

Many houses had a lot of damage.  Lots of downed trees.  Roofs were damaged, power was out, windows were breaking, and semi trucks were being blown over.  Many intersections had traffic lights ripped off the poles and garbage cans were blowing everywhere.  I drove around afterwords and took some pictures of the downed trees.  Some of them were 50+ year old trees.  Some were 70+ feet high.

Something caught my eye as I looked at the majority of the downed trees.  One tree was 70 feet tall, but only had a root system 3 feet deep.  Most of the trees I saw had a root system less than 3 feet although the tree itself was anywhere from 10-70 feet.

If you've read any of the posts lately on the blog, I've been watching the symbols and occurrences in my daily life and noticing the truths they contain.   They have all been meaningful to me.  God is more willing to speak than I have been able to hear.  But I'm trying to change that.  The tree roots especially caught my eye and ear as containing truths about life.

I asked myself why the root system of a 70 foot tree would only be 3 feet deep.  I'm no arborist, but it seems to me that the roots do not grow any deeper because they were not required to.  Enough nourishment was available in shallower ground for the tree's typical needs.  Especially in places where humans provide the trees with lots of water with things like sprinklers.  Whereas in other areas trees would have to rely on more intermittent rain and the nutrients very deep roots provide.  Many many of the downed trees were in places where it was obvious they had received a lot of sprinkler water.  If there is always water near the surface of the ground, many kinds of trees it seems do not grow a deep root system.

Here are some pictures.  Notice the depth (or lack of) of the root systems of even the large and old trees).  Many root systems grow "out" instead of "deeper". 






As exciting as it was to watch the storm from inside it was also fun to venture out in it and experience what felt like the wind tunnel at the indoor skydiving place in Ogden.  

I wondered to my self: How much like the trees are people?  Unless they are required to dig deep with their own roots, their own testimony, their own understanding of life, God and especially the Gospel.....will their roots go deep?  Or will they just tend to be shallow because they are not required, and in some cases not invited to do anything else?   

It is possible to go beyond what is typical.  We're told there is much more available than what people are usually willing to receive.  So although it's not required, it may be extremely beneficial to do so. The scriptures invite this kind of thing.  

As I thought about all this more truths started to dawn on me.  It would be a favor from God for him to provide experiences, or put us in a place that causes or provides the necessity for roots to grow deep.  It may be more difficult, seem unnecessary, but it will in fact allow survival from the storms.  Whether or not we are in a season of life that necessitates root growth, we can chose to do so anyway.  

The opposite would be settling for a shallow understanding of God and the Gospel.  Just relying on the sprinklers and "top down" water.   Today I'm more grateful for the things in my life that have required me to dig deep and dig as far as I was able to find nutrients.   I remember the parable Christ told about the man who built his house upon a rock, vs the man who built on sand.  The one "dug deep" (Luke 6:48) and laid the foundation deep.  Also the parable of the seeds.  Some seeds falling on good ground, being nourished, taking root, and growing deep. 

Trying to walk against the terrible wind yesterday was meaningful to me.  It was more than just phenomena in mother nature.  It also represented the internal battles we all often face.  I'm no exception.  None of us are immune.   I know what it feels like physically, and what it's like internally.  

We know that after the storm comes the blessings though.  It has been that way with me.  I'm grateful for a God who knows enough to not just let me stay in the sprinkler water and slight breeze. But also orchestrates experiences and things in my life that require my own roots to find depth.  

Thanks be to God.  

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