The simple basis for all living things. The foundation upon which we all live, grow, and thrive. And yet, very few of us have roots that are perfectly planted. Beneath the surface, our roots may be soffocating, intertwined with roots of another kind that are making it hard to breathe. In an effort to escape, our roots stretch towards the surface, peeking through to see the light of day, only to realize it’s the nutrients from those around us that we need to survive, so we head back in. Life isn’t easy. No one said it would be. But I believe with all my heart that Beauty Stems from Rusted Roots.
To look at that house, you may think eeeeek! What a mess?! Well, if you’ve got a few minutes, I’d love to tell you about that little mess. You see back in 1934, this little house was built. It stood proud for decades down a winding country road in Guilford County, NC. And still stands today, although maybe not quite as proud. We passed this old house twice every Sunday for more than 15 years, as we headed to and from church. I watched as it deteriorated over the years. But it wasn’t until just a few years ago that I learned this ‘old house’ I had come to admire was the house that my mom lived in as a baby. My great grandmother lived there for years. Truly rusted roots that I never knew existed. So mom and I went back to visit in the winter of 2012. Yes, it snowed. It was a special day.
Mom carried her flashlight, just like my great grandmother always did. We called her Maw Maw. She lived in the old house, her brother in the house to the right and her sister in the house on the left. It was a homestead of sorts. Her sister’s name was Molean, we called her Mo. Mo & Maw Maw were both like grandmother’s to me! You’ll be hearing a lot about these two if you follow along! Here they are back in the late 30’s, early 40’s.
And this is how I remember them best… always side by side…
I introduce you to these two very special ladies because they undoubtedly shaped the person I am today! Not to mention, even in their passing, have given me what I hope to be the tools to create a happy and fulfilled life, just as they did. Here’s how…
In the summer of 1998, Maw Maw passed away. And just four years ago, Mo went to spend some time with her and Jesus too. It was a very sad time. The homestead had been abandoned for quite some time. And no one seemed to want to preserve all of the memories that lived within the homes there. Their brother’s home had already been torn down. Developers had taken over the land where my family once grew corn, tomatoes, and green beans. I still see Mo sitting on the front porch with a big ‘ol bowl, snapping those green beans. There were apple trees and grapevines. I remember searching beneath the tree for good apples. I wasn’t tall enough to reach to pick them off. I remember the crunching of the gravel driveway as cars would pull in for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. And the beautiful blossoms of the blue and white hydrangea bushes. Today all those memories are being replaced with this…
It tears my heart to pieces. I know this is happening all over the country. And it seriously breaks my heart. I had to do something!
After mom and I visited the homestead back in 2012, it had been on my mind ever since. I HAD to figure out a way to save what I could before it was destroyed. Lucky for me, the homestead was still in the family and three homes still stood… the old house my mom lived in as a baby, Mo’s house where we had all of our Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, and an little red and white trailer where MawMaw lived in her latter years. All three homes had been abandoned for over ten years. Vandals had broken in. Windows were busted. Doors torn down. It was a sad sight. But when I voiced my interest in preserving whatever was left, my family was on board and let me salvage what I could from these three houses before the property is sold.
My heart started pounding when I got the news. I couldn’t wait to get over there and see what I could find. We worked from sun up to sun down. Literally. On what must have been one of the hottest days of May! We left exhuasted but exhilerated! I did it! I saved what I could of my family history! And while I will be sad to see the area demolished, I can only hope that 80 years from now, someone will look back on 2014 as the year that their great grandmothers house was built and will cherish the memories of their Rusted Roots the way I do mine!
Today, I challenge you! No matter where you are, what you are dealing with, or how rusty your roots may be, be thankful for the roots God has given you. Take a step back. Find the hope that lies within. And know that there is beauty to be found in every situation. We simply need faith, trust, and some roots with a little rust!