Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Staying Put

I read a post this week by Sarah Bessey titled, "The Place that Shapes Me," that prompted this post from me. Sarah wonders if there is something to be said for staying put. I agree.


I only slept in two different rooms of the same house before I went to college.

I grew up with grandparents a half mile from me, in the house my great-grandparents lived in when my dad was a boy.

There was a secret road—we called it “the field road”—that ran between my house and my cousins’ house that only our two families used.

The road I grew up on still holds memories of the bike riding, tennis playing, and summertime wanderings of my childhood.

When I left that place, I didn’t look back.

I didn’t appreciate. I didn’t savor. I simply headed for the big city, much like George Bailey, shaking the dust of that crummy little town. . . .


What I didn’t realize until many years later—too many years—was that that town, that road, that house, held not just my memories, but a part of me. My roots were there, deep.

What I didn’t know was that I couldn’t escape the memories, mostly happy, some sad, nor did I need to.

What I didn’t understand was just how much that place, that one single place, had shaped me.

My dad was a farmer, tied to the land that his grandfather had farmed, maybe even his grandfather before that, and because of that, I was tied too. What I didn’t know was the blessing of being tied to a place.

I grew up restless, as if my home and my town and my life there couldn’t contain me. I wanted out, and I ran as fast as I could as soon as I was able.

I didn’t go far. I didn’t even leave the state. Still haven’t.

The girl who wanted to shake the dust from one place still hasn’t been able to shake it from another.

Years ago my husband and I decided that we would stay put, intentionally. That we would raise our daughters in the same town, the same schools, the same church, the same community so that they, too, would know the blessing of staying put, of laying down roots.

Today, our girls are on the precipice, just spreading those wings for takeoff. The purpose of putting down roots wasn’t to keep them here, but to give them the freedom to fly.

Putting down roots in order to fly . . . an oxymoron if I ever heard one, and yet, there it is. Truth.

Kind of like losing your life so you can gain it.



So tell me . . . have you put down roots for your kids? Or are you the restless adventurer? Or are you both, like me? What do you think about staying put?


  1. We put down roots. We had an opportunity in our life to pack up and go somewhere else, but, instead we built a house and stayed here. A mile from my in-laws (yikes.) I am so thankful for our sense of place. My kids have memories that can never be replaced.

    When my parents had to move from the home I had lived my whole life in it was very traumatic for me. I STILL have dreams from time to time that I am lost and can't find my home (the one that I grew up in) because I can never go back there.

    I'm glad to know that even with your love of wandering the world you love still the place that was once home. So many people have missed out on having that and it is a true blessing!

  2. Wow ... I can't even imagine these kinds of roots. I have lived in so many countries, states, houses, rooms, tents ...

    But we are a very rooted family ... so I think our roots are more in traditions. (which you guys have, too, Shelly.)

    I would love the rootedness of living in one place. Dave and the girls love to travel.

    Great post.


  3. Thanks, Linda!

    Glenda, you put down roots in different ways--I love how you have done that with your family.

  4. We live about 1/2 a mile from where I was raised. In fact, we rent the farm my parents owned (although my folks moved from that house years ago). My kids go to the same high school I went to. They drive the same streets I drove when I was a kid, and I wouldn't have it any other way. I've been lots of places, and I still love to travel. But I honestly believe, for me, there is no place like home. And if I had it to over again, I wouldn't change a thing!!!