August 23, 2011

if your roots feel shallow...

My earliest memory is walking in the woods with my mother.

On a hill overlooking the Hudson River, we called it the Readout Trail. And I was the youngest of four with five years between me and the third. So when that yellow bus pulled up and drove away with brothers and teenage sis, I had my mom all to myself.

The trail started across the street and catty-corner to our front door. We would step off that sidewalk and dip down into trees, lower and lower... hand in hand. And a tiny-girl memory can be skewed but some things stick in hyper-color. And that green patio awning would disappear up and to the right and out of view as we descended. Together. We would talk and listen and discover.

And growing up all I ever wanted to be was a mother ... like her. Full of peace and that calm quiet trust. And the way she reminded me always that "faith is a gift, Mary Abigail." I would catch her whispering prayers. And she always believed that we were "little people" with little spirits and she didn't usher us out of her presence. She was safe.

And I think on legacy now, this little clan under my roof- and I wonder if they catch me whispering prayers. If they know they are safe with me, that I value the little space they occupy.

Because security in my mother’s space taught me about security in His.

Later when I didn't feel safe in other places ...was sure I took up too much room ... I knew He would not usher me away. And in the years that followed, when I so often chose wrong, I was not afraid to go to Him, grab that tender hand.

When my mother was young, she went to church alone. Her father would drop her off on the sidewalk and pick her up again, at her second-grade request. In all of her growing up, she managed to get there ... to meet Him in the sanctuary. It wasn't until those West Point years, all those years and children later, that she joined a bible study and met Him in the Word.

And I wonder about this too. How does a person with little spiritual heritage find one? Aren’t' we all bound up in family roots and how does a new root spring up from a place where there wasn't one?

Cara and I, too, have been woods-walking since she was tiny. A part of me feels compelled to get out there and hold her hand under the trees. But I know she is logging her own memories-- not recreating mine. And from what I can see, this Jesus heritage we are passing on is so very young and I fear we won’t get it all right.

And I rest in knowing that He knows how far it reaches. Perhaps all I need to know is that we- right now and everyday- are reaching straight to Him.

From there we are grafted straight into His heart and this family tree becomes ever-so-simple ... and  beautifully complex…

us claiming Sonship from the Father direct while we join the most beautiful expansive picture of family.
Far and wide and ever reaching-- binding soul-branches all over the globe to one singular Tree.

As we walk these tree corridors I ask to be a little more like my sweet mother, and a lot more like Him,

because these days are vibrant and they will stick in little girl minds.

I ask for grace and peace, kindness, goodness—

and I ask that this little girl's reach, because of her roots, would extend far beyond this little family line.