Once there was a woman who was tired of facing the obstacles and challenges that life had been throwing her away. She was frustrated with the way life had been unfair to her and couldn’t help but go through the ‘feeling behind’ syndrome. One day, she couldn’t endure her troubles any longer and she decided to quit — her job, her side-hustle, her friendships, her relationship with her partner, her wellness and her spiritual path.
She went to see an old mentor of hers, who had retired a few years back and now lived in the woods. She explained her plight to her mentor over a cup of tea in his cozy home, and as she finished, she looked into the eyes of her mentor directly and asked her, “You know my story now. Can you give me one good reason why I should not quit?”
He stood up and motioned the woman to come outside with him. He said, “Look around, pointing at the trees. Do you see the fern and the bamboo?” She answered, “Yes, I see them.”, not quite sure what the trees had to do with her life.
Her mentor continued, “When I planted the fern and the bamboo seeds, I took very good care of them. I gave them all the light and water that they needed. The fern quickly grew from the earth. It’s gorgeous green soon covered the ground. Yet nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo.
“In the second year, the fern grew with more vigor and abundance. However, 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. And the same happened in the fourth year. But still, I would not quit.
“Then in the fifth year, voila! A tiny sprout emerged from the ground. Even though it was small and seemingly insignificant as compared to the plentiful fern around, I decided to wait. And just six months later, the bamboo shot up to over 100 feet tall; turns out that it had spent the last five years growing roots.
“Those roots gave it the strength and all the nutrients that it needed to survive. I knew deep within that this was not a challenge that the bamboo couldn’t handle.
“My child, you may feel that all this time you have been struggling, but did you know that you have actually been growing roots just like the bamboo? I would not quit on the bamboo. And for sure, I will never quit on you!
“It’s not fair to compare yourself to others. You have your own uniqueness, your own gift that you have been given to share with this world. The bamboo is very different from the fern. Both of them have their own unique purposes. Yet, if you look at the big picture, they both make the forest beautiful and full of life.
“Be patient, my child. Your time will come. And mark my words, you will rise high.”
Moved by his words, the woman with ignited hope and a renewed sense of purpose asked him, “How high should I rise?”
Her mentor asked her in return, “How high do you think the bamboo will rise?”
The woman replied, “As high as it can?”, unsure if she was right.
Her mentor animatedly agreed and said, “Yes, make me proud by rising as high as you can. And always remember… I will always be there standing by your side. I will never leave you, nor doubt you or your gift. I will never give up on you. I will never, ever quit on you.”
The woman gave him a tight, extra-long hug, and with the fire in her belly burning bright again, she left the forest to pursue her dreams and the life that she was meant to live.
Believe in your uniqueness and your gift. And never ever quit on yourself. Be patient and be perseverant, your time will come, and you will rise high too.