As I reflect on life after celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday last week, the question that I keep hearing is, “What am I truly thankful for? What are the things and people in my life that I can’t help but to feel gratitude towards. Despite the problems, despite the worries, despite all the negative things going on in this world around me, what brings me true joy”? I was also reminded of one of the things we have learned from brain science. Focusing on what we appreciate and are grateful for brings us more joy, and makes our brains work better.
These questions and ponderings really hit home for me this year after breaking my foot and being unable to actively participate in so many of the activities that usually consume my life. I struggled with not being able to get out of the house on my own. I got stuck on the fact that friends weren’t reaching out as much anymore. I got consumed with focusing on what I couldn’t do, what I didn’t have. I never truly wanted to quit, but came close. The questions that raced through my head have been things like why me, when was my foot going to heal up, what have I been missing? I really found it difficult to focus on appreciation and gratitude.
Yesterday I came across a post from a friend on Facebook that helped me to view my circumstances a little bit differently. It wasn’t necessarily anything new or earth shattering, just a needed reminder. It is something that I am so thankful for and would like to share with you.
Life is a journey with many different seasons. Often those tough periods are merely an introduction or preface for something much greater. Never give up and never quit, for the best is yet to come!
Here is the story.
One day I decided to quit. I quit my job, my relationship, my spirituality. I wanted to quit my life. I went to have one last talk with my mentor. I said, “Can you give me one good reason not to quit?” The answer surprised me…”Look around. What do you see?” I saw a fern and bamboo seeds.
My mentor replied, “When the fern and the bamboo seeds were planted, 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. But 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 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.
Life does not give anyone a challenge they cannot handle. Did you know that all this time you have been struggling, you have actually been growing roots?
I did not quit on the bamboo. Never quit on yourself. 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. You will rise high! How high should you rise? How high will the bamboo rise? As high as it can. So you should rise as high as you can. Never regret a day in your life. Good days give you joy. Bad days give you experience. Both are essential to life. Joy keeps you sweet. Trials keep you strong. Sorrows keep you human. Failures keep you humble. Success keeps you glowing, but only your faith keeps you going. Keep the faith, for this too shall pass. Never quit.