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Day 14 of Lent: Turnaround

February 26, 2013

Verse for reflection: In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” Matthew 3: 1-2

 At our office we used to have a cactus plant that bloomed about three or four times a year. Normally I’m not a big fan of cacti, but there was something about this particular plant’s blooming that always caught my imagination. I don’t know the name, but it was more similar to this video than my photo below of a simple thistle blooming (which is awesome for a weed!).


The feathery bloom on the plant in our office lunchroom was as delicate as any orchid (in fact some people call it an orchid cactus), and lasted only one day. It would burst open one morning and by evening was limp: exhausted and spent from its one brief day of shining.

One morning I came to work to find it was the cactus’ day to bloom. But the flowers were squashed up against the window with no room to spread out. So I turned the planter around and watched the flowers unfold more fully. I imagined them thanking me for not having to spend their one day of glory bent up and miserable.

It made me think of a man I knew, who in a sense spent his life turned in the wrong direction because of forces beyond his control when he was a child. I always felt he was damaged by a warped childhood, with no one to turn him around enough to say, “Look at life from this side now. You don’t have to wallow in the circumstances of your birth. You’re free to become better than you’ve ever been before, given room to stretch and bloom.”

That can be the experience we have on our Lenten journey. We don’t have to spend another day mashed up and unable to blossom. Sometimes it takes the help or assistance of another person to turn us around. Sometimes our own squirming and searching gets us into a position where we can bloom the way God intended. John the Baptist preached about repentance, turning around.

Action: In what way could I use a fresh angle—turn around to look at my life another way?


From → Faith, Nature

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