I find myself profoundly grateful for the image on the cover of Rooted in Love.
I explain the image on the first page of the book:
‘In early 2012, I was giving spiritual direction to a person who had been through a very difficult period but had worked through their pain, confusion and internal chaos. There was a sense of Spring in the conversation, of life beginning to emerge from an emotional wintertime, and an image began to develop in my mind – of a small shrub held in the soil; held in the hands of God. The shrub symbolised the person’s life, and the soil their life experience. The soil was composted with processed life experience. The detritus of pain, confusion and chaos had been broken down into something which now nourished the plant.
What struck me most forcibly about the image was that the more that life experience is processed, grappled with and understood, the richer the soil becomes, and the greater the strength of the shrub, the more beautiful its flowers and the more plentiful its fruit. So the beauty and the plenty do not arise from the shrub doing anything, but come simply from its being.’
But in the last few days it has struck me that this image represents a truly integrated spirituality. A spirituality in which suffering, growth and fruitfulness are inextricably intertwined. As such it represents a spirituality which is deeply embedded in our human experience. It is a spirituality which is more immanent than transcendent. It is a spirituality which seeks God in the ordinary, everyday fabric of our lives, rather than using God as an escape mechanism.
When I was going through the process of publishing the book, I was unequivocal about both the title and the image on the cover. But it is still both surprising and delightful that this image is continues to speak to me in new ways.