Lessons From the Bamboo

This post slept in the drafts folder for three years

The idea was to cut and remove old bamboo culms (stems) to make our clump of bamboos more beautiful.  Cutting and removing around 19 old, ugly, dying, and drooping culms (stems) will allow more space for new shoots to rise to the sky.  But my good intentions led to bad results. 

I thought that all the old and ugly stems should be removed to make the clump of bamboo “trees” more beautiful.  I learned a few lessons after the fact:

  1. Bamboos Are NOT Trees.  They are in fact the largest plants in the grass family.  Yes, these towering “trees” are actually giant grass and are among the fastest growing plants.  What I used to think as trunks are stems called “culms”.  In the photo below, I documented one shoot rising over 7 feet tall in just two weeks!

From a 17 inch shoot to a 7 foot culm in 2 weeks!  Note the plant on the right as reference height.

 So, first lesson:  I have a lot of assumptions that are borne out of my ignorance or lack of knowledge.   “Actively” learning truths not only rewards me with the pleasure of “knowing” but opens me up to the great beauty and wonder of life.

  "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline." (Prov. 1:7 - NIV)

    1. A Lesson On Family And Community.  An act I thought would make the clump of bamboos more beautiful turned out to be a near failure.  Cutting around 19 culms (stems) this previous summer made the clump aesthetically lighter and cleaner but rendered it functionally defenseless when the rains and the winds came a month later.  The photo below shows our clump of bamboos swaying with the wind as nature designed them but they are now structurally weaker as each culm INDIVIDUALLY contends with the winds, instead of leaning on each other as they crowd and twist together.  The photo below was taken on an ORDINARY rainy day.  Just imagine the winds on a typhoon day.
    A few culms on the right separated from the clump by the wind and rain; majority of culms (left) in the clump swaying together in the wind.

    Bamboo stems (culms) prop each other upThey lean on each other and sway as a single unit with the wind.  Interlocking stems and sometimes thorny twigs may not be pleasant to the eyes but they perform a life-saving function for the whole clump of bamboo during stormy weather.

    When we removed most of the old, dying, seemingly ugly and useless stems we effectively reduced the interlocking structures that gives the clump the collective strength to survive even the strongest typhoons.

    We are designed to live as a community that props each other up, a group that magnifies and complements individual gifts, strengths, faults and weaknesses.  Like our old clump of bamboos the community can be messy.  It may not look great and feel great at times.  Some members of the community may seem to be rubbing against us at unpleasant parts and may be blocking our assumed growth path but in the long run and taken as a whole it is a thing of functional beauty.

    Two are better than one,
           because they have a good return for their work:
     If one falls down,
           his friend can help him up.
           But pity the man who falls
           and has no one to help him up!
      Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
           But how can one keep warm alone?
      Though one may be overpowered,
           two can defend themselves.
           A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
                                                  -- Ecclesiastes 4:9-12



    1. wow! three years in the drafts folder. ganda po ng final result.

    2. Haha. Ang mas nakakatawa wala namang nadagdag sa content so sana pinost ko na lang siya noon. :-) thanks!


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