General Sherman or Bonsai?

  • Published
  • By Maj. William Constantine
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing chaplain
There is a tree called a Bonsai tree. It is beautiful and perfectly formed although its height is measured in inches.

In California, we find a forest of giant trees called sequoias. One of these giants has been named the General Sherman. Extending into the sky 272 feet and measuring 79 feet in circumference, this tree is so large that if it were cut down, it would produce enough lumber to build 25 five-room houses.

At one time the Bonsai and the General Sherman were the same size. When they were seeds, each weighed less than 1/3000th of an ounce. The size difference is a lesson in life.

When the Bonsai tree sticks its head above the earth, it is pulled from the soil and its taproot is tied off as well as some of the feeder roots. Thus its growth is deliberately stunted. The result is a beautiful miniature tree.

On the other hand, minerals, rain and sunshine nourished the seed of the General Sherman. The giant tree was the result.

Neither the Bonsai nor the General Sherman had a choice in its destiny, but you do. You can be as big, or as little, as you wish to be. What is your choice?

Instead of tying off the taproot to the resources available to you, connect to your taproot. For some this could be friends and family. For others this could be the Code of Conduct, and still for others, education. For me as a Christian chaplain, my taproot is my faith in Jesus Christ.

Be aware of your taproot and use it to become everything you can be.