I welcome again my dear friend and colleague, Kim Platt, with words of wisdom.

Lockdown Notes, April 2021: Roots

I talked to Susan today. I told her about all the things happening in my lockdown life. I told her about it being warmer today when I went for a walk. I told her about the zoom prayer meeting I went to where I was distracted by being the youngest person at 56. I told her about our hearing the squirting noise and discovering our broken shower. I told her about figuring out how my parents can get vaccinated and explaining it to them over WhatsApp. I told her about the suspicious package at the vaccine plant in Wrexham today. I told her that I have very little motivation and how my days seem empty—even though today seemed full.

And she told me about her ageing mother. And about going to a restaurant. She told me about sitting on a porch with friends. She told me about plans to read this year as part of a book club. She told me about her sore arm and headache after getting the vaccine on Sunday. She told me about deadlines. She told me about pressures. She told me about dilemmas and frustrations. She told me how to cut my own hair.

And I seemed to perk up. Because I’ve been through some of those dilemmas and pressures. I haven’t known Susan for very long. In fact I’ve only met her online. But she is sensible and perceptive. She is wise and loyal. She’s my teammate. We have the same vision for pastoral care: workers joyfully thriving in their life and ministry.

I was able to say, ‘yes, that’s a dilemma’ and ‘hey, just get that done’. I was able to laugh. I was able to listen. I was able to encourage, ‘that will come with time.’. I was able to give the time, 2 hours, just because. Because that’s what friends do. That’s what a team does to connect and learn and intentionally support each other.

Teams have to grow the roots in their relationships so that when the wind blows and the tree starts to bend the roots hold fast. It’s seems like the wind blew most of 2020 away in terms of opportunities for teams to meet up, eat together, stay up late together and tell life stories, hold each others babies and worship together.  So many team events cancelled. Team retreats postponed, then cancelled. Field conferences have also been rescheduled now, some multiple times.

Maybe you don’t have a defined work team like we do. But you probably have a team even if it isn’t defined by an employers structure. And I’m sure the pandemic has disrupted your team’s connection culture. What can you do to improvise a substitute? This wasn’t my first call with Susan, we’ve had several. But today I picked some fruit. I was listened to. I received the unhurried blessing of time. I basked in the warmth of authentic sharing and I felt lighter afterwards.

Thank you Lord, for friendship in the midst of isolation. Thank you for connection in the midst of barriers. Lord, thank you for places to talk in these days of limitations. Thank you for Susan.

***********

Finally in November 2021 we had a team retreat and I met Susan. But that’s not an accurate phrase anymore. Of course I’d already ‘met’ Susan, already forged a deep relationship and already been blessed by her presence on our team.

We’ve recently had a powerful storm blow through our area and many trees were lost. The assessment is that this happened because the winds were from a different direction and the trees weren’t  accustomed to strong winds from the North. Perhaps this is a way of describing our pandemic experiences. A fierce wind came from an unexpected direction. Some of us were just putting down roots—searching for nourishment and stability. We had to search hard and hang on tight. Jeremiah describes it like this.

“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7,8

Yes, Lord Jesus, you are our hope and our confidence. Even in times of isolation and limitations.

Whatever storm you are facing, keep working on roots. Be intentional about friendships—even on days that feel like the wind might topple you over.

I’ve been living cross-culturally since 1988. I love listening to people and helping them hear themselves and hopefully hear God. I love speaking and teaching. I’m recovering from breast cancer that shook me to the foundations in 2017. I live by the seaside in Wales and work from home with my husband. I’ve raised 4 children in countries ‘foreign’ to me and am now enjoying 2 grandchildren. I’m a member care specialist with One Collective. You can read more of my devotional thoughts on my blog: https://plattmom.blogspot.com

2 Comments on “Letters to the Lord: Roots

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