|It was the month of August, 1996. I was 17 years old. I had my duffel bag packed and [I] dressed up in what I assumed was appropriate travel wear. I had no idea what I was truly getting myself in to, but I tried to fake self-confidence and mask my fear. I was heading to America to begin studies at Northwestern College.
All the details of the trip were a nice distraction from the realization that I would soon be boarding a airplane that would whisk me away from my dear home in Bangalore, India, and would drop me off rather unceremoniously in New York City. I would have to figure out how to get to northwest Iowa from there. I was scared, but I did not want my mom to see that.
I took my one-way ticket to the airport. I shook hands, hugged family and friends, and as I kissed my parents goodbye, my parents looked at me and said to me, “remember your roots.”
“Remember your roots!” I never forgot that statement. I came to the USA, finished my college, graduated from seminary, got married, had children, I even got naturalized a couple of months ago. And yet, no matter how well I adjust to life in these United States, I have never forgotten my parents’ last words to me when I left India: “Remember your roots.”
At my home and office today, you will find a cricket ball on my desk, carvings on wooden elephants strewn on shelves, I even have the brass bowl, which served as my father’s plate when he was a little boy, sitting on top of my piano. These are visible and tangible reminders of where my roots are.
As we navigate this season of Lent, I look around at the other physical and metaphorical reminders of where our roots are. Where our identities intertwine with brothers and sisters around the world and ultimately find themselves growing in love, in to Christ, who is the head.
In spite of the myriad differences that want to define us, we never forget where our roots are intertwined this season. Blessings on your Lenten journey.
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