A Crusty Old Cactus

Dust powdered my feet as I stood at the top of Piestewa Peak Summit Trail, overlooking the city. My eyes raced across the panoramic view, taking in the generalities, but missing the specifics. That was because my mind also raced across the panoramic view of my life, taking in the overview of successes and mistakes, joys and losses. I glanced to the side and all the scanning stopped, inward and outward.IMG_0859

I stood beside a 20 foot Saguaro cactus. It looked as though, over its lifetime, it had been so bumped, kicked, assaulted by human or nature, that it could hardly stand. Its base was shriveled and darkened, covered with scars. Farther up, less so.  Two thirds of the way up, it was green, robust, round, and thoroughly armored with the spines that are normal for the species. And at the top – a FLOWER! It was blooming!

This, I thought, is me! I liked the looks of that crusty old cactus!  And my life, however imperfect.

I am no longer a victim.  I NO LONGER FEEL LIKE A VICTIM!

I’m breathing, sleeping, jumping off cliffs, taking one day at a time, and laying my heart wide open before God.

After being frozen for months, for years, I am profoundly, utterly grateful for a number of things:

A friend who talks with me about God, Christ and faith without judging me, and without control or arrogance. A number of bloggers who very, very quietly, in words of peace, encourage me to faith like theirs…no hype, no insistence on words or doctrine, maybe no doctrine at all….more like a whispered, “this is what freedom smells like…follow the scent, breathe deeper, and also live in the One Who gives us breath.” The clamor and control of abuse has left me deaf to louder voices.

A way of seeing God and Christ that is gradually melting my sad heart and moving me forward to a place some rest and some faith. Progress.

Your prayers.

Friends I have lost touch with many moves (and moons) ago, but who have had a sweet effect on my life by their sincerity and support, and by the example of how they live their lives.  They are the Christians I went on walks with, shared kids with, shared my heart with – and who responded by being steady, sincerely loving God, knowing me very well and still loving me, seeing and hearing the parts of my situation I shared with them, admitting it wasn’t OK…and leaving it there…as displayed confidence that I would make the best choices possible. Hello, Cathy T.!  Michelle J., Rosa P., Terri H. and Karen J.? I love you, and I will be getting back in touch to tell you so!

Medical intervention for perhaps bipolar issues (perhaps not) – that has turned the volume in my mind and heart down from rock concert screams to loud conversation. Medical intervention for adrenal depletion and nutritional deficits. Therapy.

Love. Beauty. Peaceful moments. Generous thoughts and words.

Those beautiful, beautiful people in my family who love, trust, communicate, accept each other (and me!). Safety from those who don’t. And a husband who is a diamond in a world made of stones.

Hugs, kisses, touch, laughter, funny faces, odd habits, mispronounced words, photographs.

If this is manic, bring it on! If this is faith, more and deeper! If this is normal….sigh… it’s about time.  The problems are not all solved, the wounds are not all healed, the questions are not all answered. But life is looking better the longer I grow.  Maybe I am looking better the longer I grow!

Like a crusty old cactus.


Blessings to you,


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14 thoughts on “A Crusty Old Cactus

  1. sf August 7, 2013 at 8:55 pm Reply

    I had no idea that cactus could have such beautiful flowers! You know, I can’t wait to let one of my friends know about your blog. She had gone through a similar marriage as yours and hurtful experience with her church as well. You’ve made a really great support site for others goin’ through the same thing! Congrats, Kudos, and M&Ms! (my fav chocolate, hehe)

    • ranthegauntlet August 9, 2013 at 1:45 pm Reply

      Thank you for your visit. Actually, I had been wondering if I was really accomplishing anything by blogging at the moment, so thank you for the encouragement. I also like the chocolate – but I go straight for the heavy, dark stuff.

      I would like to recommend a couple other blogs that are helpful to me:

      Barbara Roberts and Jeff Crippen at A Cry for Justice at http://cryingoutforjustice.wordpress.com/

      The Ability to Love at theabilitytolove.wordpress.com

      I see you have already checked in on Graeme Schultz at hardwiredtochrist.wordpress.com

      Joe Pote at http://josephjpote.com/

      Blessings!! Diane

      P.S. Love the song on your latest post – beautiful! Makes me want to learn Korean.

      • sf August 9, 2013 at 10:40 pm Reply

        I had just checked out those blogs – Great ones! Thanks for letting me know about ’em! Very nice how a variety of topics are covered (such as info on books) and overall: interesting! Thanks and will share with my friend those too.

  2. barbarastanley July 25, 2013 at 7:07 pm Reply

    Simply beautiful.

  3. Denise Hisey July 17, 2013 at 5:17 pm Reply

    Diane, your journey is so beautiful. I rejoice with you as you enjoy this new chapter in your life! xoxo

    • ranthegauntlet July 17, 2013 at 9:41 pm Reply

      Denise, you were the first person I talked to through the blog world, and you gave such valid and kind counsel. It was the first step, and I will always appreciate your candid sharing, and talking with me. I also love hearing about the transformation in your life. I didn’t know you before your hard work, but you have related some “before” stuff, and, well, “you’ve come a long way, Baby!” Just following your lead! I rejoice with you, too!!! Blessings, Diane

  4. Uzoma July 16, 2013 at 8:23 am Reply

    Diane, what a beautiful and sincere analogy. The bible makes me understand that we’re imperfect beings, but are made perfect through the presence of the Spirit. Christ won’t have died if our souls where not in need of divine intervention. In Christ, we learn to love others like He has loved us. So sharing with us about a host of things makes us brothers and sisters in Him. Remain blessed.

  5. Unshakable Hope July 13, 2013 at 6:38 am Reply

    Very inspiring and thought-provoking post!

    • ranthegauntlet July 13, 2013 at 7:56 am Reply

      Thank you, Bill. You are one of those bloggers I mentioned, the words of peace, you know. Blessings! Diane

  6. whisperingleavesblog July 10, 2013 at 1:42 pm Reply

    Not so crusty. A rare specimen.

    • ranthegauntlet July 10, 2013 at 2:40 pm Reply

      Once again that gentle sound of whispering leaves. Thank you. I’m smiling. Blessings, Diane

  7. ranthegauntlet July 10, 2013 at 9:04 am Reply

    Awesome!!!! Love you too, my friend! (Yeah, I know who you are, anonymous!). Ecstatic smile your way! I’ll be making good on the threat of contact! Diane

  8. Anonymous July 9, 2013 at 10:57 pm Reply

    Love you my friend!

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