Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

Mindful Monday: The Fern and the Bamboo


A classic that I like to post on Beyond Blue every now and then …

One day I decided to quit…I quit my job, my relationship, my spirituality…. I wanted to quit my life. I went to the woods to have one last talk with God.

“God”, I said. “Can you give me one good reason not to quit?”

His answer surprised me.

“Look around”, He said. “Do you see the fern and the bamboo?”


“Yes”, I replied.

“When I planted the fern and the bamboo seeds, 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 year three there was still nothing from the bamboo seed. But I would not quit. The same in year four.

“Then in the fifth year, a tiny sprout emerged from the earth.

Compared to the fern, it was seemingly small and insignificant.

But just six 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. I would not give any of my creations a challenge it could not handle.

“Did you know, my child, that all this time you have been struggling, you have actually been growing roots? I would not quit on the bamboo. I will never quit on you.

“Don’t compare yourself to others.” He said. “The bamboo had a different purpose than the fern. Yet they both make the forest beautiful.

“Your time will come”, God said to me. “You will rise high.”

“How high should I rise?” I asked.

“How high will the bamboo rise?” He asked in return.

“As high as it can?” I questioned.


“Yes.” He said, “Give me glory by rising as high as you can.”

I left the forest, realizing that God will never give up on me. And He will never give up on you.

Never regret a day in your life.

Good days give you happiness; bad days give you experiences; both are essential to life.

–Author Unknown

Click here to subscribe to Beyond Blue and click here to follow Therese on Twitter and click here to join Group Beyond Blue, a depression support group. Now stop clicking.

  • Nancy

    I needed to hear this today. Thank you, Therese.

  • Heather Whistler

    Awesome reminder that God doesn’t give us more than we can handle! Even in the toughest situations, He gives us tools to help us cope… if we look for them.
    Re: coping tools, I just wrote a new post about a free computer game that can help relieve anxiety/flashbacks. Let me know what you think if you have a chance:

  • Lacey

    I love this story!

  • Lynn Dover

    Thank you:
    This was exactly what I needed to read today.

  • Christina W

    Timely as usual. I love your blogs – you have NO idea how often they are the only thing that makes me think it will be worth continuing to try. THANK YOU.

  • nat

    This post was so perfectly timed I cannot even tell you. I have a special needs child who has been particularly challenging in the last few days. I do not give up on him, but sometimes want to give up on myself. And I do “compare” myself to others which only saddens stresses me more. I am not a religious person but this post really hit home and gave me the lift I needed today. Thank you so much, Therese. I so admire you and what you do for yourself anf others.
    ps. This writing also helps me quite a bit.

  • Ron

    I have heard this story before and I really like it. I appreciate you including it in your blog for today.

  • Crystal

    I really enjoyed this story. Thank you Therese for including it in your blog today. I appreciate your writings very much and look forward to receiving them each day. God bless!

  • Joe Gonzalez

    GROW AND BE FRUITFUL, POPULATE THE EARTH AND SUBMIT IT ! ( and don’t listen to the snake – he’s an old trickster ! )

  • Jenni

    Thanks for the post, I needed to read it, and hear it, so to speak.
    I appreciate when you put words to what I feel, since I have a problem doing that myself.

  • Gabrielle

    Thanks for this post…it is exactly what i am going thru right now..about to give up on life..about to quit..i feel like my life has been full of pains, struggles and less happiness…starting to ask GOD why did i have to survive breast cancer just to feel this way..severely depressed..feeling like what was my struggles all about when until now, at the age of 50 i can’t see any reason to live anymore..

  • Judy

    I never saw or read that poem before so it was a new treat for me. it is a really fitting poem for me in my life right now. Being unemployed and feeling very,very discouraged I have had a few of the same thoughts. I have a few obstacles in my way towards gaining employment so to be honest for the last few months I was getting so discouraged I just stopped looking or putting forth any effort what-so-ever. So thanks for that uplift I surely needed it. Happy Holiday Season to everyone & their families. Peace & Blessings

  • shirley south

    Beautiful lesson on life and its beauty,inspritational uplifting,and encouragement to keep going. What we learn in time and patience is Amazing. The Beauty of Nature and God’ds creations.
    An uplifting message when things seem tough ! Keep up you Faith and ambition and you too can grown and flourish like the Fern and the Bamboo.
    Excellent !!!
    Blessings for the up coming Holidays

  • http://thanks samantha

    hey you are right. why should i quit on myself when i can go and live a life that i never had. this will help me along the waY. THANK YOU! may the lord be with you. God BLESS YOU!

  • Louise

    Have you ever tryed to pull bamboo up? It is the toughest yard work
    I’ve done….You can’t just pull the stalk you have to dig the roots and the runners in order keep it from coming back. Too the stalks last forever and there are so many uses for them. The fern is a sensity plant that need it’s enviroment to be just right …not too much sun… heat is ok if there is mositure in the air not to close to different types of plants….blah blah.I would rather be the Bamboo any day…..I think that I have grown to be more like the Bamboo in my life….I sometime suffer with some root rot….but I find that I bounce back stronger …Thank you for this story

  • Terra

    Thank you; I’ve never read that before and it brought tears to my eyes. Struggling w/depression since teen years (now 60); I must be a “very late blooming” bamboo.

  • Barb

    This is such an inspirational and uplifting poem to me. It goes right to the heart of my life’s experiences. Been unemployed for almost 2 years can’t find a job, my marriage of 16 years also ended but was dead for a long time due to my husband’s drug addiction, at times I didn’t know where to turn for help but my walk with GOD has become ever so much more deepened and stronger giving me much strength and courage just when I always need it the most, and now when I least expected it a most wonderful fantastic special honest trustworthy caring loving man has come into my life giving it so much more meaning. I know GOD, who never gives us more than we can handle, has always been in my life from the very beginning I just wasn’t always willing to accept him , he puts obstacles in our pathway I feel to strengthen us for the good that will come into our lives so we can truly know and enjoy the good things that do happen in our lives as rewards from GOD for trusting, accepting and having faith in him. I have been so blessed and have so much gratitude.

Previous Posts

Seven Ways to Get Over an Infatuation
“Bewitched, bothered, and bewildered am I” wrote US songwriter Lorenz Hart about the feeling of infatuation. It’s blissful and euphoric, as we all know. But it’s also addicting, messy and blinding. Without careful monitoring, its wild ...

posted 12:46:43pm Feb. 19, 2014 | read full post »

When Faith Turns Neurotic
When does reciting scripture become a symptom of neurosis? Or praying the rosary an unhealthy compulsion? Not until I had the Book of Psalms practically memorized as a young girl did I learn that words and acts of faith can morph into desperate ...

posted 10:37:13am Jan. 14, 2014 | read full post »

How to Handle Negative People
One of my mom’s best pieces of advice: “Hang with the winners.” This holds true in support groups (stick with the people who have the most sobriety), in college (find the peeps with good study habits), and in your workplace (stay away from ...

posted 10:32:10am Jan. 14, 2014 | read full post »

8 Coping Strategies for the Holidays
For people prone to depression and anxiety – i.e. human beings – the holidays invite countless possibility to get sucked into negative and catastrophic thinking. You take the basic stressed-out individual and you increase her to-do list by a ...

posted 9:30:12am Nov. 21, 2013 | read full post »

Can I Say I’m a Son or Daughter of Christ and Suffer From Depression?
In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, we read: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” What if we aren’t glad, we aren’t capable of rejoicing, and even prayer ...

posted 10:56:04am Oct. 29, 2013 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.