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The Drowning Cactus


Tuesday, March 19, 2024


I've had a new feeling recently I've never experienced before. It's similar to peace, but there's something novel about it I can't quite discern yet. I could easily chalk it up to contentment, but this feeling is more worn, like it's older than me; like it was passed down or given to me, not earned, or cultivated, or stumbled upon.

It's difficult to describe, but it's distinct and almost imperceptible at the same time. It's heavy but light. Hot but cold. Shallow but deep.

Other feelings are zealous and torrid like depicting anger or lust as a fiery ball of spikes embedded in your sternum. This is something different. This is something calm and smooth like flower petals that wade in the wind, or like how the sun shines through a stain glass window—it's like a butterfly fluttering its wings as it rests among the leaves, or that sensation you get in your heart when you smell the soil after the rain.

Lately, too, God has deemed it appropriate to remind me of my solitude—that oh, so familiar paradox of sting and comfort at the same time. Whether or not it's a test and whether or not I pass, I welcome it. It reminds me I am meant to suffer.

The other day I was compared to a cactus. They are normally hardy and drought tolerant. Though, too much water and they'd die just the same as too little. It's similar for the sun and the shade.

If I am a cactus, then I cannot discern how much sun, water, and shade I need to survive. If the sun is people, then I want to be around them, but I also want to be left alone. If water is solitude, then I want to embrace it, but I would also like to share it with someone. And if the shade is time and my environment, then I'd like to enjoy it and stay awhile, but I'd also like for it to hurry, and for me to run somewhere far away that I don't recognize.

Each of these things are torn dichotomies not suitable for something to grow. Each, a sentiment I know intimately.

If I am a cactus, then I see no sun, I'm drowning in a flood, and the shade is cold and dark. I've been tolerant of these things for so long, I can't remember what the right amount of rain feels like. Sometimes the sun is warm, but I've learned it's never constant, and sometimes the shade is all encompassing for what seems like an eternity.

"If you are a cactus," I was told. "Then today is a rainy day. I know the shadows are long, and the air is dark and heavy, but if you have to, try and learn how to live in the rainy fog. It'll pass. It always does. And the sun will shine on a new day."

I think this reminder was meant to show me who I was. The person whom I've grown out of or whom I've left behind. If that's the case, then I think I might know this new feeling of mine.


Translation: The same sun which melts the snow, hardens the brick.
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