February 11, 2024

Beauty amongst the thorns!

Thorns are not very pleasant! I always seem to find myself on the wrong end of a thorn whenever I handle roses! But what amazing beauty we find amongst the thorns.  

This gorgeous patio rose thankfully doesn't have big thorns, but its sweet flower brings great delight to me. This one was given to me on my last birthday. It seems to be just about always in flower even though it is quite tiny and in a pot.

I recently completed this rose embroidery below - not half as nice as the real thing! It came as a kit with Bunka thread which is a very different thread to what I normally work with. I was reasonably happy with how it turned out - it is definitely one of those pieces that is best seen from a distance, so you don't see the thorny unpleasant bits of embroidery closeup!

When we purchased our home 14 years ago, it came with an established cactus garden. I saw no reason to change it, even though it does seem incongruous for our sub-tropical climate! Over the years I have added a few plants, not cacti, so I like to think it is more of a rockery now. 

Some of the cacti are VERY tall. The one above can be seen towering above the roof tops when you are out walking in the suburbs. It flowered for the first time recently but they are just those green bits sprouting out from the top. It's not a lot of beauty to compensate for the deadly thorns it has all the way up to the top!

This cactus, however is different. It has those same terrible thorns, and I can't count the number of times I have gotten too close, but it is quite prolific with the beauty it displays and most weeks it will have four or five flowers on a few of its trunks.

However, this cactus doesn't share its beauty with everyone! You have to be an early riser or a night owl to see the flowers. It shows all its glory in the middle of the night, and as soon as the sun rises, the flowers start to close up and they are all gone very quickly!

Every morning, my ritual is to have a peak around the blind to see if there are any flowers on this cactus. The sun is blazing through the windows early in the morning in summer, so I leave the blinds down to keep the sun and heat out for a while.  A week or so ago, I could not believe my eyes as four of the trunks were laden with blossoms. The sun had been up for a short time, so there was no time to waste to grab the camera. I counted 37 blooms, the most I have ever seen. The flowers are so delicate, so short-lived, mostly unseen by human eyes, but all pointing to an amazing creative God who loves designing beautiful things.

After gazing at all that beauty, I did a little stroll around through my courtyard which is loaded with pot plants and there was this little face staring at me! It is just a harmless common tree snake but it did add to the excitement of my morning in the garden.

I've been thinking about the thorns of life. You don't have to live very long to know that life isn't a bed of roses. There are plenty of hurts along the way, things that don't go as planned and sometimes you have to wonder where the beauty is amongst those thorns.

I love the words of this verse of John Whittier's 19th century hymn:

Drop Thy still dews of quietness,
till all our strivings cease.
Take from our souls the strain and stress,
and let our ordered lives confess
the beauty of Thy peace.

That's where I find the beauty amongst the thorns - the wonderful peace that Jesus gives as I walk with Him through the prickly paths of life.