Archive for September, 2008
In light of the recent remarkable increase in the volume of films being streamed by MessageWeek, I couldn’t help but recall the main theme in the book I wrote almost two decades ago titled “The Bamboo Metaphor”. The story highlights that some things of value don’t happen “overnight” in the world of instant peas, instant coffee, and instant finance. Some things take time, and the time is worth the work and wait. Below is an excerpt from “The Bamboo Metaphor”:
The Bamboo Metaphor (excerpt from Chapter 15)
Geoffrey’s words came flooding back, uttered once when they had shared in what is perhaps best described as one of those “deep and meaningful” conversations — discussing the merits of those relationships that could ultimately lead to marriage. It was more of an analogy than a story; in its own right, it was a touching narration imbued with optimism. He said he had heard it from a “wise man”.
True love, Geoffrey said, was not like the pumpkin plant that grew with astonishing speed and withered just as quickly, but could be likened to a rare species of Chinese bamboo.
“You must be patient, and when the time is right, love will flourish. Take a shoot of this rare species of Chinese bamboo and plant it in fertile soil.”
Geoffrey had an interesting way of explaining things, deliberating over every phrase and then giving them utterance that superbly lent itself to this narrative.
“Pat the soil well around it. Water it. See that it has sunshine, and the nutrients by composting it; and then, wait for it to grow, but remember, you must be patient.”
He had told this story several times before, and each time Jonathon heard it had found himself again quietly listening, not wanting to disrupt the methodology he employed in telling it. The story had taken on a semblance of reality and credibility. With his hands, Geoffrey mimed the act of the putting on of compost.
“Wait for a whole year,” he continued, “and you will be disappointed. For the bamboo shoot will still look the same as the day when you planted it. Wait further. In six years’ time you can again look at your bamboo shoot. By then, you might even be tempted to give up on it, for even after another six years, unlike most plants, it will still sit in the ground, dormant, waiting — for just the right time.”
“Love is that bamboo shoot,” Geoffrey said in a half musing, half philosophical way.
“Still, wait yet another six years. The bamboo shoot is now nineteen years old. You, too, are now nineteen years older, and in all probability your puerile efforts involved in the planting of the bamboo shoot now are forgotten. But, the time is finally right!”
Geoffrey had a wonderful, charming way of telling his story, embellishing it with his gestures as well as with an inane smile, subtly raising his voice as he led towards the climax.
“With the warm, spring sunshine — for the nineteenth time — suddenly, without prompting, the bamboo shoot moves, bursting into life. The earth parts and a pod of leaves appear overnight. In the next three weeks it sprouts to over twenty feet in height!”
“That’s the way love can be sometimes,” Geoffrey restated in a more debonair tone, “the foundation for which can take what appears to be a long, long time to lay, but when the time is right, it will grow like the bamboo shoot, blossom as it were, to full maturity and potential.”
The story, whether authentic or not, was enjoyable, amazing, yet relevant to any young man’s quest for lasting friendship and companionship. Every time Geoffrey told it, he modified for whoever the listeners were, embellishing it with details and language that added to its entertainment value. He always maintained that this particular bamboo existed.
This story certainly had parallels with his and Renea’s relationship. Herbert also had to endure an indeterminable period of dormant, seeming futile years, when the search for a lasting relationship seemed elusive. Nothing could make the bamboo shoot grow before it was ready, no matter how much rain, sunshine or nutrient. Neither would love grow before it had weathered its share of storms and seasons towards a maturity and a final, awaited blooming.
I think there’s merit in this story that perhaps also applies to the work of MessageWeek. In faith we have planted and in the process grown, and in time it is God who gives the growth.