When the cactus blooms, they are some of the prettiest blooms you’ll see, just like some people we interact with daily; they are beautiful on the outside. As we get closer to the cactus, we notice the large spines that are visible and know these can cause harm. Just like some people who are beautiful when you meet them, but as you get closer, you become aware of the visible signs they demonstrate that may cause you pain and alert you of danger, but like the cactus, we are still drawn to them.
The closer we get to the cactus, the more desire we have to touch and interact with the plant and blooms, but we soon find out there are invisible spines that cause us harm. Once again, as we get closer to certain people, their outward traits are pleasing, but they have these invisible traits that cause you harm. Just like the little invisible spines on the cactus, this harm often does not come immediately, but take times to work its way into your body, eventually beginning to fester and causing pain. Someone who is not familiar with the prickly pear cactus may not be aware of these little spines and continue to draw it close with their hands, only to find out later how hard it is to remove these little spines that are almost invisible to the eye. Just when we think we have them all, we find another and shriek with pain. This is the same for some people. We may think we know them, but as we are drawing close to them, they are inserting their little barbs that aren’t noticeable at first, but eventually they cause us great pain. It is often not until it is deep into the relationship that we realize how much damage they have caused us. They are like the cactus; give us a show of beauty while at the same time, ready to insert pain when we get close.
As I walk by my little cactus each day, I am reminded of how beauty on the outside can contain harmful things on the inside, of how to be alert to behaviors/symptoms of danger even if it’s coming from someone I consider close. But most of all, it reminds me that our lives are full of hidden dangers. It is up to us to identify what is safe and what is not then use the knowledge that God gave us to remove ourselves from people who are causing us harm. Like the cactus, keep your distance to alleviate any chance of harm and enjoy the beauty from afar.