Roots, Wings and Other Things

Today I printed out and plastered up what seemed like hundreds of photos onto the wall above my bed (it is actually, just under 40).  Pictures of the visions of Joplin and St. Louis.  Images of my past AmeriCorps teams.  Visions of my family and friends.  flashes of my journeys to Africa.  These are the images that keep me going.   That drive me to continue on. 

These images remind me of why I am here.  Why I continue serving.  These are my roots.  This is where I come from.  These are my foundations.  My experiences.  My journey. 

In Supervisory Training this week, our instructor told us “Wings over Roots.”  It is more important to explore yourself and to experience the world around you before putting down your roots and settling down. 

I don’t agree with this statement.  Without roots one does not have the stability to face the storms.  Roots do not have to hold you down, but it gives you the strength needed to grow and develop.  Wings lift you to higher places, giving you the ability to soar.

My roots stretch across the world, through the experiences and relationships that I have had the privilege of building.  From the amazing individuals of Akia-Ashianut that I served beside in Uganda to the crew aboard the M/V Africa Mercy, the teammates and individuals that I served beside throughout my ten month journey with AmeriCorps*NCCC to the hundreds of volunteers that poured out for the tornado response in St. Louis and Joplin.  My heart is connected to all of them.  From a small community clinic in Uganda to the largest non-government run hospital ship in the world, broken cities to the various military bases and communities where I grew up.  I left pieces of my heart in each place my feet have taken me on this journey. 

In sharing my stories and travels with the other FEMA Corps Team Leaders here on campus I have come to appreciate the opportunities that have come my way even more.  I am young, but as I tell of my journeys throughout the world I feel like an old soul, a seasoned veteran, an explorer who is setting off on another adventure.  One of my fellow Team Leaders pointed out that I have experienced more of the world than most people.  I have spread my roots out across the nations.

Because of my extensive root system, I am no longer tied down.  I credit all of the individuals and experiences that I have encountered with providing me the strength needed to spread my wings and soar.  We are all born with wings, it just takes the strength and courage of experience to stretch them and leap. 

My parents provided me with the strength needed and provided the opportunities to discover the courage for myself. 

The way I see it, one can view roots as something that holds them down or something that allows them to grow.  Plant your roots everywhere you go, learn from your experiences and open your wings.


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