October 27, 2011

Soft and Gentle Among the Spiky and Prickly

Among the spiky cacti we stand.  In this desert garden, plants glisten silver green in the sun light, masking their spikes.  It is their design.  Made to survive harsh temperatures and severe droughts these plants are strong.  The gardener has planted many varieties of prickly plants, interweaving their textures and shapes.  A pleasing appearance to look at, but not touch.  All except one.  It looks soft.  Gingerly, she touches it. 

Her hand skimming over the fuzzy felt like leaves of the plant called Lamb's Ears.  She laughs at the sensation.  "It tickles a bit."  She cups it in her hands.  "It's so soft!"

"Really?"  I bend down and press fingers around it.  I marvel at its texture.  Soft and strong, a gentle sturdy plant created to live in a harsh environment and endure extreme weather. 

Another day we enter the grocery store.  List in hand, cart in front of us, we walk the isles.  Bypassing other shoppers, waiting for crowds to move, and hoping to find our necessities.  The noise is a low tone of grunts and sighs just audible over the 10 year old songs playing on the intercom.  No one smiles.  All avoid eye contact.  One lady burst through the aisle, yelling, "I told you to sit down.  No, you can not have that cereal!  Now sit down!"  She pushes her cart and child through the masses.  I stare after her.  Others seem to not notice. 

A few minutes later, another girl screams, "Mom!  Mom!"  She is crying and yelling.  I search for the girl who belongs to the voice.  Turning a corner, I see her turning in place, searching for her mom. 

"Honey," I approach her, "are you looking for your mom?"

She peers at me through huge tears sliding down her cheeks.  Perhaps she's eight or nine?  "Yes," she chokes back another round of tears, "I can't find my mom."

She's a bit calmer.  Others start to gather, watching us, but not helping.  What do you do when you find a lost child?  Keep them calm.  It's all I can think to do.  I want to walk her to the store manager, but I am a stranger, and around here, no one really trusts a stranger.  "OK, honey," I start a short conversation.  The girl is too young to answer in specifics, but it keeps her focused and in one spot for a few minutes.  Just enough time for her momma to turn the corner.  Worried and frazzled the two reunite. 

As the mother and daughter pair walk off, a gruff of voices begin around me.  "I would have just handed her off to the manager!" an older man shoots me a disgusted look.

 "Shouldn't have been lost in the first place," a woman huffs. 

All these people, and no one wants to help a crying young girl?  All these people, prickly and spiky, unwilling to yield and offer gentle words and gestures to another.  Where is the soft spot to land?

I think of the soft lamb's ear she touched, in the midst of the spiky cacti. 

And, I think of the Lamb in the midst of this world, gently leading, rebuking, and teaching us all through His Spirit.  A soft spot when this world seems full of prickly, spiky cacti.
~ Dorie

This post is the fifteenth in a series of posts reflecting on the fruit of the Spirit.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness, and self control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23


  1. What a neat post, Dorie! Help us, Lord to be the You to this lost world...

  2. How wonderful, Dorie, that God put you in that place at that time to show this little girl the love of Christ.

    Your photos are beautiful....in our part of the desert, I've never seen this cactus. My children would love to see one that was soft to the touch. :)

  3. Thanks so much, Trisha. I must admit that I too was surprised by it, and a few other plants in that cactus/desert garden. I do wonder what part of the world it is found natively.


Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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