For many people, the word “grounded” will only bring up notions of being punished by parents and not allowed to go out or use the car. However, a more positive view of that word means being being focused on one’s present and not obsessed with the past or the future. It means to know who you are as a person and, consequently, who you are not.
Many folks think of having roots as owning a home or having a long connection to a community. While this meaning of roots is certainly popular, another meaning is having a firm and deep sense of who one is and is not. If you understand what your values are, for example, and have assessed their relative importance in your life, you will have a greater grounding. In order to understand what my values are and their relative importance, I need to have thought about them at length and reflected on why I have those particular values. I also need to have considered the connection of my respective values to my overall sense of myself as a person. We each have a self-identity as a person and as a Catholic. One would assume to we would rank each respective value by how closely that value ties into our self-identity. While having good penmanship may be one of a person’s values, it is unlikely to be too closely connected to his sense of what being a good Catholic is all about. Conversely, attending religious services and being kind to others are values which would likely have a closer connection and hence be considered more important.
Just as knowing who you are and what you want to be is important, knowing who you are not and what you do not want to become is a critical aspect of having roots. If I do not want to be seen as liar or arrogant, I will likely do all I can to avoid giving off that impression. Therefore, by avoiding things which hinder our values and embracing things which enhance our values, we deepen and strengthen our roots as Catholics.
The Role of Falls in Developing Roots
Whenever we experience any kind of mishap, stumble, or misfortune, we have the option of using such falls to grow toward God or away from Him. To the extent that we think of such falls in terms of only ourselves, we may often grow away from God. Why? Because we will likely only consider how these falls impact how others see us and how we see ourselves apart from God. On the other hand, to the extent that we consider such falls in terms of our relationship to God, we will have the opportunity to grow toward God. Why? Because rather than see each fall as some humiliating event, we will only consider how the fall provides us with an opportunity to grow closer to God. Ultimately, growing closer to God is all that matters anyway.
Seen in this way, falls provide us with a wonderful opportunity to grow roots in our Catholicism, We need only to approach such falls in this way and let God do the rest.
2017 Gabriel Garnica