I’ve lived in so many places, built life alongside so many different communities, and started all over again that I thought I knew what roots meant. Turns out – I really knew about adaptability and seasons. Not, the rhythm of everyday life.  The joy, sorrow, shared and projected pain, disappointment and celebration that comes with finding people with whom you choose to live life  with and alongside of.

I thought I knew what loving unconditionally meant, because I had loved many.

That love thing, got it down!  (one should never think they’ve got anything down too intensely – God will shake that up pretty quickly) There was reason to think I knew something about it. I have four sisters, a single mother and seventeen first cousins. Add in the wild amount of community I am blessed with around the world, loving people – I thought I had figured out – for I had been doing it all my life. Loving through seasons and changes – but the important difference was that I had never been rooted in the same place.

But then the test of real, true love begs for its authenticity to be checked. When unmet expectations, yours and their brokenness become exposed. Where you wake to days that you start walking a little less straight next to one another – and the realization that standing tall next to them –now- might take more work than first anticipated.

They break your heart, and you may break theirs. Sometimes just for a moment, sometimes for months. What do you do then? I wondered often. Some days I resolutely took stride beside them, others I retreated – even if quietly. But, there are days where I’ve been loved so extravagantly it took my breath away and left me humbled by the grace.

The past two years of building roots in Nashville, I feel as though I have lived more real life alongside my community than any years past. I’ve had both light and dark moments – where we’ve carried each other through the harder days and celebrated in the joyful ones. Some days simply resting in the quiet of being still.

I’ve been to funerals of children I never knew, simply to stand in solidarity with my community. Sat with friends and family who celebrated huge beginnings – and experienced intense despair – stories shared over coffee or meals. I began to acutely learn what roots mean. The kind that have been dug deep into the ground and weather seasons that come in the form of joy, sorrow, disappointment and hope for better days. The kind that actually have any sort of foundation – the kind that can last past what we’re sometimes capable of sustaining on our own.

I’ve longed for roots for as long as I can remember. One of my leading dreams for several years was to have a place and people to call home. After living in over 30 spaces, 9 cities and 6 states – I longed for consistency.  The not going anywhere, normal, steadfast, consistent kind of stability.

I have found that here and in these people I love. I discovered that digging roots is both glorious and uncomfortable. It’s being made aware of your holes and places still to be mended while standing with open hands and hearts.

I’ve wrestled with my own disappointment – in myself and others, waiting to see who I would be after that rumble. Learning so much about who I actually was and who I long to be – and landing somewhere in the middle of that dance.

Recognizing that I have made loving myself and others a lot more complicated than was necessary.  I want to be someone who loves with great ease and little expectation. Because I believe in roots that are deep, season tested, and last unconditionally.

The kind you come back to even if life takes you elsewhere.

I want to be space that hearts feel more loved and free for having knowing. My hope in life is to be safe harbor – for the weary, the broken and the hopeful.

I needed to learn what roots meant.  I had to let my own personal ones heal and be made whole – redeemed. I had to encounter what limitless time, non-conditional community and relationships looked like.

I learned that well dug and formed roots are the foundation for the glorious. The cultivation of them is not shallow or necessarily easy but the result is what feels like everything good about being human. Love that stays even in the less than perfect conditions, community that cheers you on and carries you when you’re tired and foundations that breathe courage into your purpose.

My expectation of roots may have been a bit naïve. I may have finally come to understand the draw of the wanderer, or where restlessness comes from. Though, I have to tell you – I love this season and all it’s learning curves and unexpected wonders.