Saturday, September 8, 2007

We're More Like Bamboo than Ferns

Autumn is here. Visible signs of growth begin to wane as colors fade from green to orange; yellow to brown, until branches lie bare and dormant for the winter. As life slows down, it is easy to wonder if growth will ever happen.

Some people have asked us "What day do you meet?" and "Where do you meet?" When we say we don't meet, and it may be 18 months or more before we have any sort of official meeting, people are perplexed.

I received an eMail this morning with a story about bamboos and ferns which speaks to this issue. I haven't researched the horticultural claims this little gem makes (and the whole thing about quitting has nothing to do with us!), but be that as it may, the story still serves as a good explanation of why it looks to some people as if we aren't really doing anything yet.

One day I decided to quit...
I quit my job, my relationship, my spirituality...
I even wanted to quit my life.
I went to the woods to have one last talk with God.

"God", I asked,
"Can you give me one good reason not to quit?"

His answer surprised me...

"Look around", He said.
"Do you see the fern and the bamboo?"

"Yes", I replied.

"When I planted the fern and the bamboo seeds,
I took very good care of them.
I gave them light.
I gave them water.The fern quickly grew from the earth.
Its brilliant green covered the floor.
Yet nothing came from the bamboo seed.
But I did not quit on the bamboo.

In the second year the Fern grew
more vibrant and plentiful.
And again, nothing came from the bamboo seed.
But I did not quit on the bamboo. He said.

"In year three there was still
nothing from the bamboo seed.
But I would not quit.

In year four, again, there was
nothing from the bamboo seed.
I would not quit." He said.

"Then in the fifth year
a tiny sprout emerged from the earth.
Compared to the fern it was seemingly
small and insignificant...

But just 6 months later
the bamboo rose to over 100 feet tall.
It had spent the five years growing roots.
Those roots made it strong and gave it
what it needed to survive.I would not give any of my creations
a challenge it could not handle."

He asked me. "Did you know, my child,
all this time you have been struggling,
you have actually been growing roots".

"I would not quit on the bamboo.
I will never quit on you."

"Don't compare yourself to others." He said.

"The bamboo had a different purpose
than the fern.
Yet they both make the forest beautiful."

"Your time will come", God said to me.
"You will rise high"

"How high should I rise?" I asked.
"How high will the bamboo rise?"
He asked in return.

"As high as it can?" I questioned.

"Yes." He said,
"Give me glory by rising as high as you can."
We have no idea how high we will rise, but we know this season we are in is about putting down roots, and that is a good place for us to be.