PLANTING DOWN ROOTS

 PLANTING DOWN ROOTS BY JANICE M. WILSON

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An aerial shot of Gatlinburg, TN from the hillside by-pass. (Photo Copyright 2015 by Janice M. Wilson)

        A few years ago while on vacation, one of the hotels we stayed at decorated their hallways and lobby with western flavored paintings and historical newspapers from long ago, framed as art.  One in particular caught my attention enough to read the whole thing.  It was a picture of a Native American Chief standing proud.  The headline read something like this, “Native Americans Don’t Understand ‘Owning Land’”.

          After 25 moves already (not done yet!), it’s easy to understand why I agree with and embrace this concept.  My life emulates this principle of living where I am now and moving on when it is time.  This high number reflects the moves my parents made for various reasons as a minor, and also with a spouse and child, some spells with hard luck, later on my own after a divorce, and even further down the road now as an empty nester.  During all that time, God’s hand was heavily steering my life and my heart.  I had never lacked anything I ever needed, including medical attention.

       There were other perks. From all those moves, I have become an expert. No alphabet soup follows my name, but I can accurately tell you what size truck you’ll need to move a whole house of belongings, and how many boxes you will need to pack.  And I have become so efficient in packing that I don’t need to buy many rolls of bubble wrap boxes of packing paper, or piles of newspapers.  I know how to pack with all my seat cushions, rags, towels, blankets and even clothes to have the safest delivery of all my breakable belongings in one trip and still get it all there with efficiency.

        Most of the moves were not by choice, and I did not plan a nomadic lifestyle.  That hasn’t slowed down yet either.  I am beginning to believe it will not for some time yet, and maybe not while I’m still alive.  Who does this remind me of? I feel much like Paul, who was a tent maker by trade, and traveled around spreading God’s message.   He doesn’t express enthusiasm for a fun life, but hard work, troubles, some rewards, new bonds in brotherhood, witness to miracles, new and old friendships, good times and daily life uncertainty. (2Cor 6:8-10)

      What one thing Paul does exclaim certainty in is Jesus the Christ- and Him crucified. (verse) This one truth he remained sure of which he may not have obtained if he lived in a cushy castle and lifestyle or as a respected Pharisee.

      I’ve been asked many times – WHY?!   I have always answered – I don’t know.  That is the truth. Again, this is not the life I chose, and the constant change can be exhausting and expensive.

      But after this last move, I began to get a clearer view of the big picture. I’m a traveling nomad, passing through and setting up my tent in many locations before I plant roots in another place because this life and planet are all temporary anyway.

      I am just passing through, learning some hard lessons along the way – and the hard way.  There was no other way to get through so many changes.

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Trusting that the Lord leads me into the right direction – Great Smoky Mtns, North Carolina roadside stream. (

(Photo Copyright 2015 by Janice M. Wilson)

TRUST

       This is probably the hardest thing for Christians to do – to completely trust in an unseen King, learning to surrender all – including worry – to something we can’t touch, hear or see.  We just know from the guidance of the Holy Spirit, given to us in various ways.

        Humans are conditioned to trust in what they see, to live and keep up with the world’s constantly shifting values, which requires constant life change as well.  But those reborn of the Spirit are converted to live and see from God’s perspective, His unchanging principles and truth, living that truth on an ‘everything is relative’ themed planet, then anticipate a different place for eternity after our physical life is over.

        That is no different for me.  Despite how many moves, I’m still learning this valuable lesson of Faith.  I had to completely trust the Lord Jesus to take of me every step of my journey, no matter where He leads me.

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Which way should I go – first?   I had all day to explore at the E. Forsythe National Preserve in New Jersey.

(Photo Copyright 2016 by Janice M. Wilson)

MISSION

        Was I put here to blaze a path of temporary residences around the globe and write a book later on in age about how I’ve traveled on foot the whole planet to experience life?  No, but that would be cool, simple and easier than this.

         My life, my core values, physical attributes and free-spirited personality are seemingly honed to roam the planet like a nomad, sometimes without the certainty of where I will lay my head the next night.  That has especially been the case the last two years.

         Jesus was a traveler too during his natural life.  From his birth and to His death, he was uprooted several times for various reasons, sometimes to save his life from jealous kings and riotous crowds, or to cross over the dirt and heal someone or deliver his Father’s messages. Then he would move on.  In response to a follower who did not understand the sacrifice of following him, he said, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” (Matthew 8:20)

          Paul described his ministry a little differently but with the same means to an end. He mentioned traveling this life as an alien, someone completely strange to those controlled by the world’s fleshly desires, other ideals, and habits. (1Peter 2:11)

         Yep, I’m an ‘alien’ – passing through this world and spreading a message of hope and eternal promises.  For many years I wanted nothing more than to plant down roots, a wish that continues to elude me.

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Commercial Fishing boat at the docks in Cape May, NJ – not a leisurely napping yacht here.  LOL

(Photo Copyright 2016 by Janice M. Wilson)

MATERIALISM

            I’m not a minimalist, but I have learned how to trim down, let go, and live efficiently with each move.  Everyone has a favorite thing or too, some very resourceful household products, and those memorabilias. I can’t imagine something happening to the photographs of my baby throughout her life, or my old manuscripts.  The rest of the stuff can be lost, sold then replaced without too much anquish.

          We all live by a few basic principles: cost, need, efficiency, movability. You learn to pack it, ship it, or let it go.  You change styles anyway. Which takes me to the next point…..

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A summer house  on stilts on a seaside peninsula – definitely a life perk!

(Photo Copyright 2016 by Janice M. Wilson)

ROOTS

          Knowing I have a different Home, I don’t expect to stay in one place long. And at the same time, I crave that place to remain stable while I still live there.  During each short residence, I have noticed that while I live there, I like things to stay put where I put them.  It irks me to come home and something is moved.  This is the only place of stability, however short of time it is, and I expect to find things where I put them.

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The marina at Stockton’s Marine Science Research Laboratory boat landing.  Definitely can’t plant roots in sand or sea water!

(Photo Copyright 2016 by Janice M. Wilson)

IDENTITY

          The bad news is you meet a lot of different people.  Most of them I never heard from again after I uprooted the tent and moved again.  This taught me to be independent and comfortable with only myself and God because I had to be often.

          Yes, the good news is – you meet a lot of different people.   This enriched my life and matured me quicker to learn how to relate to all kinds of race, ethics, ages, dialogues, beliefs and temperaments.    Most of them I thought were pretty cool and fun, even at a young age. I decided early to make the most of it and learn something from them all.  The alternative as a recluse just didn’t jive with my personality. Still doesn’t.

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In the Great Smoky Mountains is a town called Cherokee – They should keep their identity !!

(Photo Copyright 2015 by Janice M. Wilson)

MANIFEST DESTINY

         In a way, I do believe I will settle down in one place when the old achey bones say ‘no more’. Regardless of my beliefs or spirituality (I happen to be Christian), I do believe we are all passing through here for a short time and this earth is not the last stop – one way or another.   In the therein, I look forward to the whole journey of my own manifest destiny.

        I have a Home I just haven’t seen yet.  That is where I already laid down my roots – where my heart is. Heaven. I’ll get all the sleep I need when I’m dead.  At Home. With God.

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household,…. Ephesians 2:19

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At Corsen’s Inlet in Ocean City, New Jersey -at the right time to witness God’s magnificent creativity!

(Photo Copyright 2016 by Janice M. Wilson)

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