I love new experiences. If there is one thing I really love it is visiting a new place for the first time and getting to experience all of the things that make it unique. I do not love GPS. Even on my phone, I just can’t quite grasp how far away 0.2 miles actually is. I’m not bad with directions, so don’t try to turn this into some whole women can’t drive thing. I just maybe need to pay more attention to distances. Anyways, I digress…
Part of my job involves traveling and it just so happens that I do quite a bit of traveling in the state of Kentucky. Even though I’ve lived in Tennessee my whole life, I haven’t spent much time in Kentucky. I’ve been so excited to start traveling so that I can start exploring in some of my off-time. One of my best friends came to visit over the weekend and we headed into downtown Louisville to check out some of the scenery. Here comes Siri, “Please stay to the left in 0.5 miles.” Well, no shocker here, I thought a half a mile was much shorter of a distance and I took a wrong turn onto the bridge that crossed over the Ohio river. I then proceeded to take another wrong turn because I was frazzled and we ended up in Indiana.
As we were trying to get back on track and headed to Kentucky, we stumbled upon the Falls of the Ohio State Park. We were looking for something physically active to do and this seemed like a perfect option. The scenery was beautiful and it was so cool because it just so happens to be one of the largest naturally exposed fossil beds in the world. We stood on a rock dumbfounded for a few minutes just trying to figure out what a fossil bed even was. We were surrounded by natural rock and a huge damn. It was so beautiful and even better that we randomly found it. And I only fell once, so that was really a win.
As were were headed back to the car, we walked up on some trees that had some of the most intricate roots I have ever seen. The roots probably reached out ten feet around the tree. The ground around them was cracked and dry. I’m amazed that they were even able to grow. But, as you looked up, the trees were healthy and green. You could tell by some of the debris that water would eventually rise up and the roots would be completely submerged. There were also multiple trees around each other all shading each other’s roots with their branches. And as I looked out over them I couldn’t help but realize how reflective they were of a person’s journey.
Roots are one of the most significant parts of life. Our roots are were we come from. Our roots keep us grounded and balanced. Our roots are home and a place that we can always go back to. But, one thing our roots are not is immediate. Growing roots takes patience. Especially when you are growing them in a new place. A lifestyle change requires patience, just like a growing tree. The first thing that will grow is the roots. The foundation that will build strength and a starting place. After that, the tree will begin to grow. You will begin to see the changes and all of the progress that you are making. But, you have to be patient for the first step of the process. It’s easy to get caught up and be discouraged when you don’t see fast results. But, weight loss is not a process that has immediate gratification. One thing that is true is that roots are always strong. Just like you.
There was quite a bit of debris around the trees that you could tell has been washed up when the water level is higher. Sometimes in life you get completely covered up by all of the things going on around you. Even though the roots get completely submerged in water, they keep thriving and doing whatever they can. All of the trees around me were still producing new leaves and reaching their roots further and further. They aren’t giving up. You can’t give up either. Even when all of the different complications of life start to cover you up, you can’t stop working. Keep pushing towards what you want and making progress in the direction of your goals. Because when the water washes away, you will still be standing strong and rooted in place.
While the trees were beautiful, the ground was not. The dirt that the trees were growing in was completely dry and cracked. It is shocking to me that anything can live in those conditions. Think about some of the circumstances that we have to live through as people sometimes. Especially during this day and age. Do you ever make it through an experience and think, “How in the world was I strong enough to live through that?” That’s exactly how I felt about the trees. They were powerful and strong enough to overcome all of the circumstances that they were living through. If you looked up you could only see green leaves and tall branches. Don’t let your circumstances steal your light and strength. You have the ability to push-through. Always remember, your circumstance don’t define you, but the way that you choose to react to them says everything about you. Make the decision to keep growing. This is also a shameless plug to drink water. You don’t want your skin to look like the dirt, stay hydrated.
And lastly, as I looked around at all of the trees, I couldn’t help but realize how many there were. All of the trees had the intricate root systems, but none of them were intruding on each other. They were allowing each other to grow at their own pace. Take notes. You don’t have to force your ideas or rush someone else to be on the same journey as yours. There is beauty in your own experience. While it is important to grow on your own, it is much easier to grow while being surrounded by a strong support system. Surround your roots with people who will use their leaves to shade to protect what you are doing. You are strong on your own, but strength often comes in numbers. Find your support system that is going to encourage you to grow.
Ya’ll know by know that I like to keep it real. But, I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by how representative those tree roots were of my own journey. I had to focus on growing my own roots, overcoming circumstances, and surrounding myself with people who wanted my roots to grow. If you are looking to start your own journey, start planting roots. Be rooted in patience and trust the process that you are going through. I promise it will all be worth it in the end.