The Hideous Bonsai

No matter what I chose to do in my life the going seemed to be tough, like forcing water to run uphill, defying gravity—attempting to countermand the very laws of nature and the manner in which the world works.

Imagine me, a simple girl from rural Michigan wanting to be Japanese. Me, an intensely independent child who cherished nothing more than to be outside barefoot on her grandparent’s farm playing in an unstructured manner, transplanting herself into a too shallow vessel in an ineffectual attempt to morph into a demure, soft-spoken woman.

I had been born a Michigan pine, a sapling lashed by the wind that crosses from Lake Michigan to Lakes Huron and Erie. But I had allowed myself to be pruned and trained in an unnatural way . . . not simply in an attempt to acclimate to new soil for a time. No, in an ill-fated decision to second-guess my maker I had traded in my God-given sensibilities to shrink myself into an unnatural six-foot-tall bonsai.

For a gardener to fashion a miniature ideal of a tree is one thing, but for a person to try to become someone they weren’t born to be—to trade in their voice and lose sight of their values, to toss away the things they love most—is a distortion of reality just short of perversion.

Each of us is given the gift of life, and we receive all kinds of input from individuals and the larger world around us, but from a hindsight perspective it all seems rather haphazard and circumstantial. Contrary to our culture’s postmodern bent, in the final analysis there is no such thing as “my truth” or “your truth.” That kind of thinking is temporal, based on what we know based on our own limited insight at any given time. There is only one truth, and God tasks each of us with the responsibility to identify it and live accordingly—regardless of culture.

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15 thoughts on “The Hideous Bonsai

  1. Your blog is beautifully written. I love your prose. I’m not sure why you’re following my blog because it’s full of of obscenities. 😉

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  2. Beautifully written, yet I feel sad and depressed for Japan as I knew it was a land of hope and freedom. I wonder why Japan is becoming so suffocating.

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  3. I was looking for new blogs to follow and found yours. I have a totally different story from you. I love Japan and am very happy being the wife of a Japanese man. Oh, sure-there are some bumps in the road but every marriage has those. I’m a Christian and the Lord sustains me here and helps me to be his hands and feet to my husband’s family who don’t know Jesus. Sharing Jesus with my husband’s family has been an immense blessing. My husband-who was a Buddhist has given his life to the Lord. I’ve only read bits and pieces of your story…if I’m correct it seems you had a very difficult time in Japan. I’m sorry about that. We live in such a lovely area and I’ve mostly only had positive experiences here. On the other hand I was married to a man from the pacific islands for 15 years and that was a living hell. We lived in the most beautiful tropical paradise..Saipan but it was a nightmare for me and I pretty much “ran for my life” with my children. I can understand being married into a bad situation. I’m going to read the rest of your story…it seems very interesting. By the way-I was raised in Wisconsin. I left when I was 18 and traveled half-way around the world to live as a young bride to the nightmare husband I talked about. We have similar backgrounds. Much love and God Bless you! Mrs. N

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    • Thank you belikewater! How kind. People must not allow their values, beliefs and the ways they know to be right be malaligned by another person or culture. I hope readers understand this.

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