Updated: May 11
I spent the last 4 months in East Tennessee, resetting, finding myself again, and spending time with my family. Tennessee was where I was born and raised, where I grew my roots. I am and will always be southern, and when you grow up below the Mason Dixon line there are a few qualities that never leave you…(even if they get buried)
My front door is always open, I will feed you everything from homemade pecan pie to slow-cooked BBQ, I will give you a warm place to lay your head, please, and thank you matter to me, kindness is key and well I think men should open the door for women. These things are my roots because they remind me what to live for, they remind me we are here to love and help each other. My Tennessee roots, come from my parents teaching me to be loyal, honest, kind, giving, and loving, and somewhere along my path, these roots seem to have gotten tangled. So I had to go back below the Mason Dixon to find that love again.
Because having roots of love is what gives you wings.
I left Tennessee when I was about 19 years old, and went to college in Colorado. This was when I started to grow my wings, that first leap out the nest. As I think back to that time, I don’t remember being scared or nervous even though I am sure I was. I was young, I was free, I was moving west! This is where my soul had wanted to be since I was 15 and went on a backpacking trip in Colorado, to this day I don’t know how they got me back to Tennessee. I mean once I was even left at a camp in Colorado, waiting on my parents to pick me up. (They got lost) After I graduated high school I attended UT for a year before I decide to transfer to Colorado Mountain College. To this day I will never forget a friend of mine who said “oh Colorado is not as great as you think, you’ll be back in 6 months.” Well almost 20 years later the west, has my heart and has given me wings, but I needed my roots again.
My time in Tennessee in the last 4 months was a gift. A gift to remind me of my roots as well as my wings. I sat a lot breathing, crying, thinking, resetting, letting go, and finding myself again. For some reason I had lost her, I had lost the 19-year-old carefree, loving, wild child that went for it in the face of fear, that knew the wind was at her back and life was meant for living and loving. I had lost my roots. The roots that taught me to laugh, run and play. The roots of joy, love, and kindness. I had become so heavy in life I forgot I had wings, it was like they become tied to my back. But that is what a reset does, it makes you dig into your roots so that you can fly.
In those 4 months, I stood in the East Tennessee pouring rain multiple times letting it rinse me clean, I put my barefoot in the dirt, I had family dinner every Sunday, I had the pitter-patter of 5-year-old feet wake me up in the morning, I taught my 5-year-old nephew about Johnny Cash and two-stepping, I watched my 12-year-old niece become a teenager, and crush it at volleyball. I saw how much my brother loves his family, and how my sister-in-law loves to cook and feed all of us which brings her so much joy. I had cashiers call me sweetie, darling, and sweet-pea, I slowed down, I went to the Cotton Eyed Joe. (if you know you know) I laughed with lifelong buddies about kindergarten crushes and middle school dances. I had irreplaceable mother/daughter days in the Smokies, I watched as my dad would do anything in the world for us. I found my roots again. I stopped being angry at the world and filled my heart with love. I gained back the pieces of me that had become scattered. I become whole again. I found the same love that gave me wings almost 20 years ago, the same love that gave me the courage to fly. It was the love below the Mason Dixon line that brought my fragmented heart back together.
What I realized while back in Tennessee is that it’s ok to get a little lost, to lose yourself sometimes, to let others love you, so that you can come back to what matters. Love. Love for yourself, for others, for this one life we have. Because when you are filled with love, your wings can expand, and anything is possible. I remembered the southern route of slowing down, sitting on the back porch longer than most, cooking enough for a small army, hugging a little longer, and always remembering…
“And now these three remain faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is LOVE”.
1 Corinthians 13
And it is love that gives you both roots and wings….