Platform: Grow Community in an Uprooted World
By Meredith Reichmann
My husband is in the Navy. When we were married, I asked a friend of mine, the wife of a retired pilot, for advice on living life well in a military family. Without skipping a beat, she said, “Bloom where you are planted.”
When we moved to Whidbey Island in the middle of Puget Sound in 2007, we had no friends or family close by, and we expected to stay for only three years. With the wise words of my friend in my heart, we quickly set to work, planting ourselves into the local church, making connections in Bible studies and home groups, and participating in the life of the larger community.
Within the year, we had laid down roots. Not only had we begun to bloom, we had begun to bear fruit. When the time came to choose new orders, we chose a set that allowed us to stay on the island. I was so proud of myself—I had grasped the meaning of “planting” and “blooming.”
But as life progressed, I realized I had only begun to scratch the surface. Friends we had grown to love moved away. Some of our friends died. New ones came, and we struggled to find a way to fit them around the holes that the others had left. We endured long deployments that required us to tap into new relationships. We had to find the balance between casting our roots wide and digging deep.
Planting and blooming make up the hard work of life itself. It goes back to Genesis: “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. ... I will bless you and ... you shall be a blessing” (Genesis 12:1-2, NKJV). God’s words to Abram reveal that God is the planter and desires for us to grow deep roots in the soil where we are placed. God may not always plant us in a far country—the soil of your planting may be more of circumstance than of geography—but the purpose is always the same, that God might bless you so you may be a blessing.
We must embrace the planting and press on to bloom.
Meredith Reichmann is a member of First Reformed Church in Oak Harbor, Washington. “Platform” gives RCA members a chance to share their opinions.