We recently said good-bye to some dear friends. They moved 1657 miles away. We didn’t see them as much as we wanted when we were 20 minutes apart.
Those of us who have pulled up our roots and moved to a new and different place understand the need we have to transplant those roots. We humans are naturally predetermined to have a need for a tribe. Our families are normally part of that tribe. The tribe also has roots.
Our personal and tribal roots can be in churches, neighborhoods, friends, politics, sports, schools, clubs and organizations. Moving away requires pulling up those roots, settling in to the new “place” and re-planting some of the roots. Some never get transplanted.
We can grow new roots, some more exciting and rewarding then the old roots. New friends can become dearer and closer than old friends. Some neighborhoods are better than the old one. Some are worse.
Old habits, which feel like roots and sometimes are, can wither. If you cheered for the White Sox for 30 years and suddenly there’s no news about the Sox in the new place, that root– that habit– withers. It doesn’t ever die, but it’s just not as important. After all there’s so much new news about the Dodgers and Angels, or the Astros and Rockets. Slowly a new affection, new habits and new roots are planted. They feel as strong as or stronger than the old roots.
People who move to new cities form their new opinions about that city based on their new friends, new neighbors and the new job. A failed move can be ugly. The person tells their friends back home how horrible the new place is, how terribly unkind the people are and how unfriendly the whole city is. Maybe she just picked the wrong shoe store.
If the new job and new neighbors are wonderful, the good news spreads that this is the greatest place to live in the country. What a wonderful warm and loving community this is, etc.
Sometimes these feelings about a “new” place are entirely based on luck. The luck of the draw…the new neighborhood, new church, new job, new friends. There are also new feelings involved. Feelings of security and familiarity are gone and until the new tribe is found and joined successfully, there is a sense of aloneness and fear.
Then as the old roots and new earth bind together, the sun warms us, the sky is still blue– maybe bluer, and we find we are happy, healthy and growing again– maybe taller.