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:~: Thursday, September 21, 2006 :~:

Growing Roots

I wish I had the source for this, but I don't. Our school counselor shared this little story with my High School Transitions class this week (these are my thirteen freshmen at risk for not graduating).

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

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

"In the fourth year, again, there was nothing from the bamboo seed. Still, I would not quit."

"Then, in the fifth year, a tiny sprout emerged from the earth. Compared to the fern, it was seemingly small and insignificant. But just six months later the bamboo rose to over one hundred 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 they could not handle," He said to me.

"Did you know, my child, that 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. 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 . . . .

Everyone has days when they want to "quit." When there are struggles . . . obstacles in life, remember we're just growing roots.

My students loved the idea of this . . . that while they were struggling in math, in English, in World History, in every class where others seemed to effortlessly sail through . . . they were growing roots and they would flourish in the future.

I instantly thought of what a struggle the writing life can be, how some days we feel as though we're getting nowhere, despite how hard we work. Each rejection, each stalled story, each setback hurts.


We learn.

We grow roots.

And one day . . . we flourish!


Blogger Trish Milburn said...

This is a great post. And very applicable to us writers who've been banging at the keyboard for years and haven't yet gotten that magical first sale.

7:17 AM  
Blogger Joan Swan said...

Beautiful. Inspirational. Thanks!

7:54 PM  
Blogger Linda Winfree said...

Ah, but I didn't write it! I'm merely sharing what was passed on to me.

But, it's so true, isn't it?

6:38 AM  

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