Saturday, January 13, 2018

Lessons from a bamboo patch-- pictures and reflections

I want to share a story with you.  A story about bamboo.

I was walking down a road and noticed a patch of bamboo.  It was a large patch.  As I approached the patch, I wondered if there was a way in and begin to look for one.  From where I was at the moment, I saw two skinny and tall bamboo stalks beckoning.  I wondered if the space was wide enough for my frame and decided to test it.  I went to it, wiggled through it, and kept wiggling my way into the bamboo.  My backpack snagged on a stalk or two, but I was able to get in.  I didn't see a direct path, but made and found a way.

Once inside the thick cover, I could no longer feel the misty rain that had begun shortly before I entered. I was protected from the rain and fully engulfed by bamboo.  As I looked around at my surroundings, I noticed it wasn't all dark. There was a clearing over to the side.  In fact, there was a huge open space inside that had been cleared out.  There was a square rock next to the edge of the clearing and beside more bamboo. It felt like a bamboo cave. 

Where at first it had felt tight and difficult to get around, there was now more than enough space to move around. 

I approached the rock and noticed a small space in the rock that had gathered water.  It was elongated.  If one were to use their imagination, one might stretch the space in the rock to say it was heart-shaped.  I did.  I touched the water inside the heart shape, touched it to my forehead, and remembered my baptism.  I asked God to renew my soul and make me whole.

As I looked around from the rock, I noticed that there were two exits (or entrances) to the bamboo patch that were now visible from this perspective.  I hadn't been able to see them from where I had originally been.  But now, in this wide open space, my perspective was different. 

There was so much bamboo.  Thick and thin bamboo. As I looked up, all I could see was a bamboo covering.  As I looked around, I noticed the different bamboo around, even the dead bamboo that had been cut to make space for the inside.

Seeing the bamboo made me want to play music (a gift I really don't have).  I picked up a broken piece of bamboo off the ground and "played" it on the bamboo reeds.  I wish I had brought my native American flute as well.  My thought was that I could have spent some time praying it inside that space.

After some reflection, looking around, and soaking it all in, I went out one of the two exits. There was a bench right outside across the road. From that perspective, the opening was very clear.

As I walked around the bamboo patch to the other opening I had noticed inside, it was also evident from the outside.  But one had to be at that place to see it.  Where I had been when I entered, that opening wasn't evident.

I learned a few things from my time with and in the bamboo.

I learned that even though the way in might be difficult and tight, it doesn't mean that the entire journey will be that way.  There can be spaces of grace that open up inside.

I learned that even though there don't seem to be additional ways in or out of something, that once you get into it, you are more likely to find a way out.

I was reminded inside to allow creation to speak from its being.  As the wind blew the bamboo, I thought of native American flutes made of bamboo.  I thought of the bamboo we cut down on a mission trip in Jamaica to use for construction and water bottles. 

I was reminded that in order to have open space, sometimes we need to clear out even good things in our lives.  The bamboo that had been cut down and cleared away wasn't bad, but it needed to be pruned away to make that space. 

I was reminded that open spaces make room for us-- to think, to dream, to vision, to pray, to play, to be.... I need open spaces in my life-- those places that allow my heart, mind, and soul to expand.  I may have to enter through a tight place to get there, but oh, it is worth getting there.

I was reminded that God does restore my soul as I seek time with my Creator, time to listen, time to be.

There may have been more lessons from the bamboo.  I left that bamboo patch and headed back down the road with a smile on my face and peace in my heart, mind, and soul.

I knew that the space that had been closed up tight for a while was now opened up again.

Who knew I would look back on that experience and say that I was blessed by bamboo?!?!  I believe that Creator God knew.

What lessons have you learned recently?  What stories do you have to share?  How is your journey?

Peace and blessings on your journey,


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