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Taking a Cue From the Cactus

Find the flower among the thorns.

Walking through the desert the other day, I am reminded to be thankful for the storms in my life. To let them break down the barriers I have built. To remember that the most beautiful growth happens from the most violent devastation. Nature reminds us hiding beneath the surface is beauty and greatness just waiting to surface. Sometimes to bring it out we need rain.

All year long, these sun-baked desert dwellers go unnoticed, being passed over for their more colorful friends. But once a year, these beauties get their chance to shine. I still have yet to see something so impressive as the fleeting flowers that stand almost in opposition to the surrounding thorns. They only live a couple days and soon wither away in the mid-day sun.

The cactus reminds us, we don’t need to bask in the glory day in and day out to be amazing. To work hard when no one is noticing, to know that the short-lived glory of the flower is found in the joy of the hard-won seasons leading up to spring. The flower is the celebration of survival.

This particular year, we have had many rainstorms.

And, we all find ourselves in the midst of our thorns. We are afraid, fearful, anxious. We protect the soft, vulnerable parts of us, afraid to let others get close enough to hurt us. After all, we may not survive another attack. But those soft parts of us need to be exposed for the best parts of us to shine through. Life has its cycles and will re-balance if we let it. No matter how long we feel we have been stuck covered in thorns, we can allow the storm to bring out the best in us whenever we are ready.

Chronic illness can often leave us weathering storm after storm, wondering if we will be able to get through it. Often, we look around us and see others basking in the sun and feel defeated. We put out our thorns and fight the good fight day after day. Remember, that though the drought can feel never-ending, and the storms can seem relentless, our struggle is not in vain. Focus on the valuable moments that are made even more precious by the pain. The good days, the non-flare days, when we appreciate life so much more than before we became sick. My Spoonie friends, you are the magnificent cactus defying all odds. Withstanding all sorts of weather with glorious moments of splendor.

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