I’m reading Matt Haig’s The Midnight Library at the minute and there’s one phrase that has stuck with me: the main character always holds onto or returns to her ‘root self’.
Over the past ten years as my body weakens, I’ve felt like I’m losing big parts of myself. Every day when I drive past a particular footpath I remember I used to be able to cycle up it. I watch my family walking our dog to the park and I think, that used to be my job. I look out at the untidy flower beds and hate that I can’t bend down and fix them, the way I used to.
The problem with looking back is we start to believe that the things we think we don’t have or can’t do anymore means that we are less now. There are days when I feel someone has turned a turbine on me and left a shred of the person I once was.
I’m learning, very slowly, that my root or Ruth self is still there and that it is definitely worth holding onto.
Have you lost something you feel was what made you you? Maybe a loved one, a pet, a gift or, like me, your good health? How do you think you can find your root self again?
I was remembering a funny story this morning… When I was a wee girl I fell out of our family car when it was driving round a twisty street. My oblivious dad asked, ‘is everyone all right in the back?’. My pragmatic brother replied, ‘Ruth’s not here’. Car brakes and everyone turns round to see a tiny figure lying on the road. I was ok and now everyone laughs about it.
Maybe you’re looking back at a distant figure of yourself and worrying that it’s never coming back. I’m here to tell you that you are still here. Your root self remains. Through the mists and disappearing, weakening times something strong is holding on. Some-one strong. And it’s you!
As a Christian I have a particular hope that when the storms rise, I will never be left behind. I always loved standing in the water as the wave breaks, runs towards me and then retreats again, pulling away the sand around my feet but leaving two small lumps for me to stand on. I stand on my faith and know that my root self will always be there because the One who formed it is holding on to it more tightly than I am.