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How healthy is your root system?

Updated: Sep 6, 2023

Last February we had our backyard landscaped in Rock Hill. We wanted to get plants established before the onslaught of the hot South Carolina summer.


Fast forward six months and most of the new plantings are thriving: cherry trees, hydrangeas, viburnums, butterfly bush, a perennial garden. And in the middle of the yard is a focal point that will be a fire pit gathering area and a formal garden of shrubs and lavender.


But then recently this pitiful boxwood caught my eye:


I texted this picture to our landscaper with this caption:

Any advice on this shrub? As you can see, others nearby are thriving.


His response: Occasionally occurs with boxwood. A root problem. Cut out the dead and see what remains, if form is acceptable.


A root problem. Of course. Doesn’t thriving always go back to our roots?

How is your root system?

What/Who is it that grounds you?


Faith? Friends? Family? Vocation?


As the summer wanes and the fall season looms,

do you need to do some soul work? Or perhaps “soil work”?


Is your root system healthy enough to weather harsh conditions? Or setbacks?


In a recent New York Times opinion piece [August 11, 2023],

David Brooks writes: Mature people are calm amid the storm because their perception lets them see the present challenges from a long-term vantage….They are considerate to and gracious toward others because they can see situations from multiple perspectives. They can withstand the setbacks because they have pointed their life toward some concrete moral goal.


Let me suggest before Labor Day weekend you give yourself the gift of at least one day of reflection. Put it on your calendar now.


Take a drive or a long walk. Let your life speak (to quote Parker Palmer). If it helps to write in a journal, take pen and paper. Or maybe you want to simply record your reflections on a voice memo.


Do you dare make promises to yourself for the year ahead?

What if you shared this promise to yourself with your partner or a dear friend for accountability?


I pray that you will discover “la bella vita,” the good life,

the life that really is life

(1 Timothy 6:18-19).



Breathe, bless and be well!


Doug Haney

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