In the fall we will be examining and exploring issues of identity. Each month within the season we’ll use a different image to help shape our journey of discovery. For October, the image is “roots.”
If you want to continue, and deepen, your personal exploration beyond Sunday mornings, here are some questions for you to ponder. Don’t feel like you have to try to answer all of them Don’t feel like you have to try to answer any of them. They are prompts, but it is your own discoveries you need to make.
You can consider these questions/prompts on your own or through discussions with family and friends (or folks in the Social Hall on a Sunday morning). You could set down your musings in a written journal or in images (even if you don’t see yourself as a writer or a visual artist). You can be attentive to those moments when something on TV, in a movie, on the radio, or in a conversation with a stranger speaks to these things. In fact, there’s no wrong way to engage with these question except, perhaps, not to engage them at all. Our Unitarian Universalist Principles affirm that we should actively search for truth and meaning, and encourage one another to grow spiritually.
One of the famous works of the artist Paul Gauguin asks three questions. They’re also the foundation of one of the hymns in Singing the Journey (# 1003). Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going? How would you answer those questions right now? Can you ever remember ever having any other answers?
The poet Margie Pierce noted, “You cannot always tell by looking at what is happening: more than half the tree is spread out in the soil under your feet.” (You can find the entire poem at #568 in our other hymnal, Singing the Living Tradition.) Is there something happening in your life right now that people wouldn’t be able to tell just by looking at you? Is there, maybe, something happening that even you can’t see so clearly? What is “spread out in the soil under your feet.”
Roots draw nourishment from the soil and deliver it to the plant for the plant to use in fueling its growth. From what do you draw nourishment? What is feeding your growth? (There may be more than one thing!) Has this always been a source of strength for you? Have you ever had others?
Some plants grow in pretty inhospitable conditions, and their roots need to spread far to get what they need. In what kind of soil are you planted right now? Would you say that your roots go deep or wide?
Do you see any other ways the image of “roots” can help you to explore questions and issues of identity?