My life has felt a lot like this recently. For most of my life (more than 50 years!) I have tried to be the “good” girl. You know the one, the one that your siblings think will take care of the jam they are in. The one mom & dad can count on to watch over the household while they are away. The one who the high school peers thought of as a bit of a stick-in-the-mud. And the one who pushed aside her dreams and life plans to support her husbands career and children’s needs.
Now in all this time I have been very blessed with friendships and relationships that others may dream about. But even those come to an end as time and distance and life circumstances change our needs and life priorities. We grow older and we grow apart. That’s life.
I have also been blessed with experiences to see and live in many places in our country, to travel overseas to foreign lands, to engage in various areas of social activism, and to make a momentary difference in someone’s life. For all this, I am also grateful.
But … I can not help to wonder, What’s the point? I mean, really, Why bother? You see I have followed the rules, checked all the boxes, crossed my “t’s”, dotted my “i’s”, and here … I … am.
Ready to quit.
The Fern and the Bamboo
One day I decided to quit…I quit my job, my relationship, my spirituality…
I 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?”
“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 year three there was still nothing from the bamboo seed.
But I would not quit. The same in year four.
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 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.”
“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.” 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.”
I left the forest, realizing that God will never give up on me.
And He will never give up on you. Never regret a day in your life.
Good days give you happiness; bad days give you experiences; both are essential to life.
Serenity isn’t freedom from the storm, but peace within the storm.