Solidarity like the Redwoods

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Kathy Escobar -Solidarity like Redwoods3

I was born in California and I remember family road trips through the redwoods and their majestic beauty, running through the forest and hugging their huge trunks.

Redwoods are tall, strong, resilient, and live for thousands of years.

But what we might not know is that their roots are relatively shallow, which doesn’t quite make a lot of sense considering how they weather storms and elements and time in such an evident way.

Their strength comes from the reality that their roots are “intertwined with the other redwood trees, literally holding each other up,” writes Susan Williamson of the John Maxwell team. “The trees grow very close together and are dependent on each other for nutrients, as well. Only redwoods have the strength and ability to support other redwoods. So, beneath the surface of these humongous, tall, statuesque trees are roots like an army of men who have their arms interlocked, standing and supporting each other. They are preventing the adversaries of life from knocking each other down. They are also making sure there is plenty of nutrients for growth to continue.”

I would re-write that sentence to say “beneath the surface of these humongous, tall, statuesque trees are roots like an army of women who have their arms interlocked, standing and supporting each other.

I am turning 50 this month and nothing has ever felt more clear to me—we need each other.

We need each other to feed and strengthen and support and encourage and come alongside like never before.

Our strength comes from our tangled up roots, from the hope of each other, from the beauty and mess of each person’s story, from the passion that flows through each of us and catalyzes change in the world, from our recognition that alone we fall but together we stand.

As women of mercy and justice and hope and love, we need to show up now more than ever.

Tall.
Strong.
Beautiful.
Connected.

Solidarity is our roots all tangled up together underneath the surface.

It’s knowing when one of us hurts, we all hurt.

It’s lifting each other up instead of tearing each other down.

It’s giving and receiving.

It’s carrying each other’s burdens.

It’s weeping with those who weep.

It’s rejoicing with those who rejoice.

It’s washing feet and letting others wash ours.

It’s showing up without being asked.

It’s advocating for those who can’t advocate for themselves.

It’s calling out each other’s beauty and gifts and talents and passions.

It’s fanning ideas into flame.

It’s leaning into each other so we won’t fall.

It’s feeding, clothing, and offering cold cups of water.

It’s risking our position for the sake of each other.

It’s using our voices even when they shake.

It’s helping each other uncover God’s image that sometimes gets buried under a lot of rubble.

It’s tending to wounds.

It’s celebrating freedom.

It’s realizing that our strength comes from God flowing through each other into our hearts and heads and hands and feet underneath the surface.

Our roots, all tangled up together, feeding each other, supporting each other, strengthening each other, encouraging each other—that’s solidarity.

An army of women, growing beauty and strength and hope and change all over the place.

Tall.
Strong.
Beautiful
Connected.

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Kathy Escobar
Kathy Escobar co-pastors The Refuge, an eclectic faith community in North Denver dedicated to those on the margins of life and faith. She blogs regularly about life and faith at kathyescobar.com and is the author of Down We Go--Living out the Wild Ways of Jesus in Action. She lives in Arvada, Colorado with her husband, Jose, and five kids. Her most recent book Faith Shift can be found on Amazon.com
Kathy Escobar

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  • Stacy

    “It’s knowing when one of us hurts, we all hurt.” Yes. #foreverinyourforest

  • Reading your beautiful definition of rooted-ness, with each phrase a different face came to mind. So thankful for the interlocking arms and the tangled roots of sisterhood.

  • Robin Baldwin

    “. . . from the beauty and mess of each person’s story . . .” really resonates with me. We all have our own stories of challenge and triumph to learn from. Knowing we are not alone is comforting. Thanks for sharing your beautiful words.

    • thanks, robin. i am grateful to know i am not alone and that yes, each of us really have our own unique messy and beautiful stories and unfolding always and forever…

  • I love this visualization!

  • sandyhay

    And that’s what sheloves is all about. Just beautiful Kathy ❤️

  • I worked at a summer camp in the Redwoods in college and they have forever held my heart. Love this image of the vast root systems, all tangled together. What a metaphor for messy, inseparable, necessary community!

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