Uprooted and Reorienting Fear


Image morguefile.com

The word “transplant,” both verb and noun, is from Late Latin, transplantare, trans“across” + plantare “to plant”. It means to move from one place and place to another…remove, uproot, reorient, shift.

We gardeners do this often for the health of the plant, for better balance in the landscape, or to open up space for other good things. In anticipation of the uprooting, we plan accordingly.

The best transplanting is done when a plant is healthy and the season is right. The gardener prunes the tops and roots and waits for healing. She then digs deep to thoroughly remove the plant while maintaining a healthy root system. The new location, which she’s prepared ahead, offers lots of room for development.

We who garden know that plants go through transplanting shock after this process. The leaves will wilt, droop, and some will die off. We also know that near the scar on the stem from an old leaf, or from pruning, a new bud will often emerge.

What matters most is the timing of the transition and support given the plant during this time. Move a plant when it is too hot and it will dry-up; too rainy and wet, and it will rot; too cold and the roots cannot penetrate frozen soil—and the plant dies.

At one time or another in our lives we are uprooted. We are planted across from familiar to different.

Over the past several months I’ve smiled to myself remembering the saying “God afflicts the comfortable and comforts the afflicted.”

Affliction had come being called from a familiar life of solitude and into more contact with the community. It’s been a challenge. And, like most people, not the first uprooting I’ve experienced. With each transition we become more confident in our ability to survive a wilt, knowing the hands of The Master Gardener will be attentive to our needs as we set new roots.

The most Perfect Gardener will not leave us unattended when we are removed from what is familiar. He will not uproot us if we are not strong enough to manage the transition.

These past few weeks, our Lord was very attentive and supportive of, not only my shift from one environment to another, but also during a small crisis.

An issue with my eyes aggravated my insomnia. My doctor prescribed medication, but somewhere the prescription was misunderstood. After six weeks of overdosing, I collapsed on the basement floor while folding laundry with tremors and in a full blown panic attack. I had no idea where it had come from. We soon discovered the overdose.

Withdrawal, even from a six week physiological addiction, was frightening and chaotic. The “comforting the afflicted”, for me, came by way of a physician and a psychotherapist.

I had to quickly develop skills to stay-in-the-moment and manage the unfounded sway of emotions, setting my roots firmly in trust of God. Over the next several days, with each peak of anxiety and valley of despair my confidence grew—I was reorienting fear.

When the detox experience was over, I realized I’d made my transition to a more public life as well. I learned that the fear and anxiety felt leaving my upstairs hermitage to bring Our Lord, in some small way, to others, was also unfounded. I was becoming off balance and unhealthy in my solitude, so He dug down deep knowing I needed reorientation.

The shifting is done, roots are setting, and new buds are forming. I’m opening up for other good things.

And all good gardeners know that transplanting before it storms is best for encouraging roots. God’s timing is always perfect.

(Image by pippalou from morguefile.com)