Several weeks ago, I went on a retreat with our OM Arts team. We spent four days, bringing together a couple dozen members of our team, some of whom had not had face time together in many months. We worked through a number of different activities, exercises, spent free times, meals together — the kinds of things you would usually expect for a team building retreat.
One of more contemplative activities involved spending extended, individual time in prayer and listening, and using our different artistic gifts to respond to whatever it was we felt God was bringing to our attention.
As I began to settle into my own quiet time, a phrase that popped into my head, “I can’t do anything right!” This surprised me, since I’m not usually the self-doubt ridden sort of person. However, I remembered a particular incident, not too long before, where several different issues had come piling up on top of each other. I felt like I was under criticism from without and within, and I finally blurted out in frustration, “I can’t do anything right!” In this case, I kept on praying, wondering if this was more inconsequential spiritual “noise”. But, it kept sticking there, so I decided to explore a little deeper.
Independently, I had been pondering the image of the tree-person here. I’d been working on it in the back of my mind for some time, but didn’t have a title yet, or even any definite thoughts about what it expressed. I’ve always been fascinated with C.S. Lewis’ descriptions of the talking trees or dryads in his Chronicles of Narnia stories. However, as I began to turn over both the image and this particular phrase, the two began to connect.
The tree doesn’t spend time worrying about how to grow, or how to produce fruit. It’s in the nature of the tree, in its DNA. As long as the tree remains deeply rooted, the growth comes as a result of the way it is created — the design buried in the code, deep within each of its cells. In times of storm or drought, the changing of the seasons from winter to spring to fall, the tree grows and produces its fruit.
In Christ, I have been transformed into His likeness. I may not look the same as Jesus did when He walked through the streets of Jerusalem, but I have His character — His spiritual “DNA” — inside of me. As DNA expresses itself in a multitude of different ways in different cells throughout our bodies, each of us expresses Christ’s nature in different ways as we grow, but we all flow out of the same source; we grow from the same roots.
My roots go deep when I live day by day, in friendship with Christ, when I know His words, when I reflect the light within me, when I let more of myself die out and more of Him blossom. In many different and practical ways, that nature inside of me begins to produce fruit.
So, this became the sculpture, “Deeply Rooted.”