My Roots are Showing

My conversion to Catholicism is nearly complete. There is only one more Sacrament left – my fist Communion. Technically, it is not my first, as I have been taking communion for years, but not as a Catholic. And this is a big deal. It is a special confirmation service, where close family and friends attend. And it is the destination on a path that started several years ago.

After my parents died, my family shattered and splintered into shards beneath my feet, deeply cutting into my heart. Suddenly, I lost so many people in less than a year, and not all by death, but they were gone all the same. And the grief was palpable. I had been brought up that you anchor your roots in your family, because family is the most important thing in the world. I loved that life, but it was gone and neve coming back. And so for several years I was just lost. I was floating around, out there in the world, with no where to put my roots.

When your foundation in life is gone, what do you do? Where do you go to feel safe? Or for comfort? To whom do you run? Losing that much family shook me to my very core and made me question everything I had been taught. Had my parents been wrong? What if family wasn’t the most important thing? But if you couldn’t count on family, if blood meant nothing in the grand scheme of things – then what did? What was going to ground me? What was going to be the truth that I knew beyond anything else, like I knew my family to be? What was going to be the foundation on which I would build my life?

And so I found myself uprooted in every sense of the world. I struggled to find my Peace, to find comfort and love and acceptance. And when I finally worked through the grief and got back on my feet, I moved away to a new place, with a new life. But I was still searching.

And then I saw a pamphlet in my parents church papers – on the Anglican Church being in communion with the Catholic church, and how to become a part of the movement. It was as if a light had turned on and I got excited about the idea. I set an appointment to meet with the priest and discuss the process – what it meant, why, how, and if it was the right thing for me. And in my heart there was an awakening, a tiny tremble of hope as light poured in from the cracks of a broken heart. It was the feeling of fertile ground.

My faith in God had been strong through all of the trauma, as it was prayer and faith in those prayers that got me through some of the hardest moments. But I had not felt a connection to the church in a long time. My views and beliefs had not changed, but it seemed that my church had.

So when I started learning the history of the Catholic church, and why the structure and beliefs are what they are, I felt a deep sense of comfort. It was as if I had walked into a warm room after being out in the cold. To study the events and teachings as an adult is completely different than as a child – which was the last time I studied to be confirmed into a faith. And in that learning, I found the firm foundation for which I had been seeking. I found where to plant my roots. Where I could trust them to grow deep, safe in the knowledge that my faith would be kept. It is extremely liberating and comforting, to know that my parents were not wrong, just my definition of family.

And that is what this journey has meant to be – it is finding my roots again, and finding where they will grow in the rich soil of faith and love and Grace.

Diamond in the Pieces

Every morning I get up, make coffee, meditate, pray and work in the garden. I have never been a morning person, s most of that gets done during of after coffee. But one thing that is for sure, gardening is a lot of work. I must spend time weeding the every. Single. morning. And if I skip a few days, it shows. I am not sure how the weeds grow faster than any of the flowers and vegetables, but they do. It is as if the weeds grow in fast forward and everything else grows in slow motion. And so I get outside, which is wonderful, and weed while I drink the coffee. I breathe in the morning air, notice the sky, and appreciate my life.

And I realize that there are many parallels between life and gardening. Both take a lot of work. Both take dedication. Both require you to get up every day, decide to work hard, and then you do it. And sometimes you must weed out the clutter, the toxic people and minutia or order for what is good to not just grow, but thrive.

No matter what you do in life, or what goals you have, hard work and dedication is what is needed to get you there. It takes hard work to earn a degree, or be successful at a job, to have healthy relationships, do stay in good physical and mental shape, to play piano…or to have a garden. And that is the thing about life, you get out what you put into it. So choose your hard.

I choose to work hard, play hard, rest hard and love hard. With all of my heart. And it shows. Because there must also be balance. And that is what I struggle with the most. Working hard and going hard it easy, it’s the balance that is difficult. Because that to do list is always calling. But I am learning to do things in smaller pieces. For instance, I am tempted to weed all of the gardens in one morning. But if I did that, it would take most of the day. But if I work in the gardens for 45-60 minutes each morning, there is time to weed and do other tasks. It is resisting to “all or nothing urge that I have as a Type A person.

The same with working out. I do not have time to exercise for a time, however, if I do a few sit ups, crunches and squats through out the day, I can get them done. So I have started working hard, a little at a time. And it’s working. Things are getting done, even if it is a little at a time. In resisting the urge to go hard and get it all done in one fell swoop, I do some as I can, then move on to the next.

And maybe that is the key to a happy life as well. You go and do a little at a time, so everything and everyone gets attention, and there is no burnout, even when you give it everything you have. Rome wasn’t built in a day, that garden won’t grow and produce all at once, and there is time to do it all. Once we slow down enough to break it up into pieces.

Life is short. And many times it’s not easy. So chose your hard, and go for it with all that you have. Take it in small chunks, and soon, after all of the hard work, your life will shine like a diamond.