Moving to the desert 15 years ago, I NEVER imagined I’d stay for as long as I have. It is the exact opposite of where I always knew I would live…near the ocean. As a little girl, I remember family vacations where the desert stretches made me cringe; they looked like withered up wastelands to me.
Jumping forward from the road trip years until now I can still say: the ocean trumps the desert (in my opinion, of course) ten thousand billion trillion times over. Every time my husband and I travel “home” I get the chance to soak up the moist, salty air and feel my skin return to back to it’s youthful origin: one with resilient moisture- not dry like the poor lizard who’s shedding his skin in the terrarium back at our desert home.
Cacti: the meanest plant creation on earth….and there’s a huge one right outside my office window. It’s placed strategically beside the emergency control panel for our pool, so I’ve experienced it’s painful embrace way too many times.
Apparently our cactus is a desert garden fashion statement- we are stylin’ over here! This desert beauty is the culprit of several painful inflictions.
We hired a mover to help us with the heavier items in our move this past summer- middle of July- nearing the end of a long HOT desert day. I’m already worried about this mover man because he looks completely exhausted- like he should probably have retired a few years back… He’s helping the husband maneuver some lumber- huffing and puffing, bright red face, sweat dripping everywhere….then suddenly, a loud man-scream echoes through our new neighborhood. I rush over, thinking he’s hurt his back, only to find he’s rubbing his “bum” and dancing around in pain. I think I’ll skip the details about the extraction of the cactus that was spurring this poor man on.
Anyway, I have this (occasionally unfortunate) “gift” that God gave me: if I’m not supposed to be laughing (like when a man gets a cactus stuck in his “bum”) it is highly likely that I will not be able to stop laughing. It’s like having turrets of giggles. My giggle affliction has gotten me in so much trouble- countless times- and there’s no known cure.
By now, if you’ve read this far, you are probably wondering why in the word I am writing about “THE CACTUS” and quite frankly, so am I (kind of.) Let’s blame it on too much coffee and a very active imagination.
Most every night, I set the sleep app on my phone, which monitors my sleep patterns and plays the sounds of the ocean as I fall to sleep. For those brief moments, I am able to close my eyes and talk to God, imagining we are on the beach. That’s always been my dream- to fall asleep and wake to the sounds of the crashing waves…
A few nights ago, I was praying and pondering my current trials and about the Apostle Paul: How he described the thorn he would always bear as a reminder of humility in his great calling (2 Corinthians 12:7.)
My thoughts moved to the realization that trials are actually necessary “thorns”–and that’s when the dreaded cactus came to mind. I had this all-too-human thought: my thorn felt an awful lot more like I had fallen into a bunch of thorns: that cactus.
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient, for you, for my power is made great in your weakness.'” -2 Corinthians 12:9
As always, my faithful Father brought me peace within my seemingly pitiful thoughts. It occurred to me that cacti are actually a lot like trials in that they have painful thorns, yet they are the givers of life in the desert. They are so harsh, yet they yield life saving water at their cores!
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” 2 Corinthians 4:17
Until that day arrives, I pray we embrace our trials and never cease to Thank God for His ever faithful Grace and guidance.