What’s going on when nothing’s going on?

Was my good fortune about to die? My lucky bamboo plant looked un-lucky. The third yellow leaf in as many weeks appeared overnight on the thank you gift. After the first one, I moved it closer to the window. After the second, I watered it with distilled water instead of tap which carries too much chlorine.

bambooStill, once emerald leaves turned lime green. I googled, “care of lucky bamboos.” The website listed everything I had done … almost.

Bright light but not direct sun.  It’s on the floor by a window … check.

Use distilled water … doing it.

Keep moist. Don’t let it dry out … check? Uhhhhh, ooops. Rocks around the shoots hid the fact that the plant’s water evaporated faster than I realized.

Unfortunately, my lucky bamboo got an unlucky brown thumb for an owner. I shared my tale of woe with another, “I guessed I killed it.”

They said, “Maybe not. Did you know that bamboo need care and water for three to five years before they take off and grow?”

“No, I didn’t realize that.”

“Why, yes. If you give up on it as dead, then it will die. But, perhaps it’s just trying to establish its root system and prepare for supporting the great heights your plant will ultimately grow. Give it a little more time before you give up on it.”

Jesus told a parable about a man who owned a fig tree. He nurtured his tree for three years, but it never bore fruit. In frustration, the man demanded, “Cut it down!” The keeper of his vineyard protested,

Sir, leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down. (Luke 13:8-9, NIV)

The scripture doesn’t say what happened to that fig tree. I believe it bore fruit. And I wonder, how many times have I given up on a goal or dream just before it was about to bear fruit? How many times have I turned away from something or someone or some situation, believing there was no use to try any more after so many fruitless efforts?  How many times have I just “cut it down?” when all it needed was more time.

So, I return to my lucky bamboo. While I can’t see what’s going on below the surface, I encourage it with indirect sunlight and fresh, distilled water two to three times a week. And I wait. I believe with the right care and time, it will grow.

©2013 Gloria Ashby. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail.

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About Gloria Ashby

I'm a writer, speaker and teacher. I live with my husband in the DFW area, and close to our daughter and her family.
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