How does one carry a cactus? A question I have asked myself many times these passed five years. Something I have always intuitively if not consciously known is that the cactus contains within it the same spark of divinity and love that unfolds in all of the other plants and flowers in existence. Logically, I know this and when I open up my heart to the infinite, believe me, I feel this. A little story to share. Some time ago, a cactus came to call. It requested my assistance actually and me, feeling so egotistical and superior, thought to lend myself to it's assistance. Considering with gentleness, I did my best to carry it but then felt the painful wounds as with my bare hands I learned that I was ill equipped to carry a cactus. I felt bitterly sorry that I could not carry the cactus as the pain was just too great for me. The cactus then did a funny thing, it began releasing it's prickly appendages with force in my direction and as each landed, sorrowfully I felt the pain as each of it's barbs met its mark deep within in my skin. I felt terrible and fought back and screamed, "How is it that you should be angry with me? I carried you and it cut me deeply. I went as far as I could but had to put you back where you were. You are a cactus and I have only bare hands with which to carry you and the stickers full around you pierce my skin and cause me to bleed. My arms were already full and now I do not wish to feel pain and to bleed. My love for you is as strong as it is for all other plants in the plant kingdom and I am so sorry. Even though I tried, I could not carry you and can no longer try." The cactus responded as a cactus would all stickers painful apparent and ever more still in abundance. I considered the source and realized that a cactus will be a cactus. I walked away from the cactus and to God and all around me, I openly admitted my failure at the inability to carry the cactus. I realized the folly of my egotistical desire to rescue the poor thing from itself. To this day, the thoughts still come, "Carry me," "How could you not carry me," "I will never forgive you this grievance and God himself shall punish you grievously for your failure," says the cactus still.
I walked away but I walked away schooled, more than humbled, deeply wounded, bleeding, guilty and remorseful for my own failure. I understood the spark of divinity within the cactus but all the wishing, insults and demands of the cactus, my own desire to be helpful and loving, could not help me to carry the cactus. I could not take the pain, I was weak. Someone suggested then, a barrier between me and the pain...but even that was difficult for even were I to find a barrier, my hands were fully carrying other flowers in God's garden. My arms were not big enough to carry the things that I had to carry, that I agreed to carry no matter what. I turned my back on the cactus in full defeat but my love never wavered, my love never changed and I prayed to God for the strength to heal the visible and invisible wounds of my folly. I also prayed that another might come along better equipped to manage the movement and carrying of the cactus. In time and with much reflection I learned that calling a cactus a cactus did not help the situation. Informing the cactus it's prickly barbs wounded and hurt me did nothing to help it's disposition. I learned that standing there trying to hold what was too painful a burden to carry would not work for me. I learned that standing their feeling helpless while the cactus unleashed additional fury upon me for my failure would help no one. But I realized, although my arms were not big enough and the burdens I carried were mine to carry, the cactus would have to learn to conduct itself or patiently wait for understanding to dawn or perhaps a soul with thick sturdy gloves might come along with the ability to carry it. My visible wounds have healed and there did come along a soul with thick gloves and skin who could carry that cactus. It's funny the cactus seemed to get what it wanted but still it was angry because it wanted me to do it? Why me?
While I may have failed the cactus in it's request, I could not fail myself taking responsibility for what I could not carry. I was sorry, no one was sorrier than I in those moments and I felt the sting of the barbs every step as I walked away. There was nothing else that I could do. So, how do you carry a cactus? Well, you ensure you have sufficient knowledge of the cactus, what is required for it's care and that your arms are protected, your hands have thick gloves and that you are courageous enough to brave the potential pain of proximity. No, I do not hate the cactus. I have nothing but love and respect for it as I do the rose, the daisy or even the sweet pea but I am unable to carry some of God's beautiful creatures in close proximity to my skin if I am unable to bear the pain of what comes with them. It does not make me love them less. It makes me realize my limitations and forgive myself my inability to carry what I was never meant to carry.
There are some people in our lives who are like the cactus. The cactus is beautiful and filled with divinity like any other of the creatures in the plant/flower kingdom. Respect the cactus for it's divinity and know your limitations for proximity. Respect all, love all and stand in your own light no matter where you are. You are never a victim. The people and things around you are your gurus in a moment. Show them the same love and respect as you would show God incarnate - A Secret...that is exactly who they are.
(c) 2012 Jaie Hart (photo, random internet find)