Have you ever heard of the story of the Chinese Bamboo Tree? It is one that speaks of persistence and quiet patience, of faith, and of never giving up on our dreams.
I heard this story when I was just finishing a 10 day silent meditation retreat. I was frustrated because all of the things that I had been working towards for what felt like an eternity, were not coming to fruition. I met a wise woman about 10 years my elder, and we talked for hours. We had so much in common; she was me and I was her, except in different times of our lives. She left me with this story that I will never forget:
‘A man and woman planted the seed of a Chinese Bamboo tree, and for the first year they watered it, cared for it, gave it sunlight, and fertile soil. After the first year the tree did not show signs of growth. The man and woman were slightly discouraged, but continued to nurture the plant in the second year like they did in the first. After the end of the second year, the tree had only grown one inch. This continued into the third and fourth year and the man and woman grew quiet discouraged. After year four the tree had only sprouted 2 inches. They wondered why, with all of their consistent efforts, the tree was not growing much if at all? They weighed their options and decided to give it one more year. At the end of the fourth year, the tree sprouted 80 feet in six weeks. The man and woman were shocked and delighted. All of their hard work had paid off! What they did not know was that in these first four years, the tree was planting a strong root system deep within the earth, without which the 80 foot growth would not have been able to withstand.
As you read this story, I invite you to reflect on one or more life situations in which, even though you worked consistently towards something, you had to wait longer than you wanted for something to happen. What were you learning that supported your growth? What area of your life now can you benefit from that same patience, nurturing and persistence?
I will leave you with this infamous quote that seems appropriate:
“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given to you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” – Rainer Marie Rilke
Thank you for reading!