The recent massacre in Virginia and the shooting literally in my backyard at Johnson Space Center today have impacted my view of roots. Being rooted to something or someone should make one feel safe and peaceful. On the other hand, maybe people nowadays don't have strong roots, whether they be family ties, religious connections, or social roots, and perhaps this is a major cause of the violence in our society.
Sometimes there are people who long to have roots and a sense of belonging, so they gravitate to gangs, cults, or other people who give them a false sense of having roots. Additionally, there are those people who have roots they choose to ignore or people who perceive that they have no roots. Perhaps they assume the role of an outcast. This, too, can breed violence.
Do people who are rooted in their value system commit such heinous acts as the ones I have witnessed this week? Apparently, some do.
On a different note, my personal definition of being rooted means to be grounded and at peace. To have a place to call home. To be firm in my beliefs. To feel a contentedness knowing that I have family, friends, religion, and social obligations. To be somewhere for such a period of time that it feels permanent. To feel a conviction deep in my soul that guides my decision-making.
I have been uprooted through no choice of my own before - a situation where all I believed in, all I felt firm about, and all I relied on was completely pulled out from under me. Two situations, actually. When my first husband left me with two small children was the first time I felt rootless. Luckily, my whole life wasn't uprooted, but a good majority of it was. Thankfully, I still had some family, a few friends, and my faith to see me through. But much of what I felt rooted in was taken from me.
The second situation was when my father passed away unexpectedly two years ago. I felt completely alone. He had been my grounding force for my entire life, and I feel less rooted in life in general since he is gone. He was almost as much a rock to me as God is. Notice I said "almost."
A third situation was a choice, but it nonetheless uprooted me. When I remarried two years ago, I gave up my home, geographical closeness to my family, the job, the schools, the church, the friends, and the social support that I had developed. Adjustment has been difficult, but I feel like I am finally starting to develop new roots.
I guess that is one good thing about roots... they regenerate. Roots can take hold again even after the plant has seemingly been destroyed. And we can all bloom where we are planted.
Above picture courtesy of http://www.photoready.co.uk/texture/river-exposed-tree-roots.html