The tree that couldn’t die…and why I’m typing with tiny thorns embedded in my fingertips

I sit here on my patio trying to type with dozens of prickly pear thorns embedded in my fingertips…but I got the photos!

prickily 1 (2)Why? Why would I (in obvious plain stupidity) get down on the ground, risk slivers of thorns in my bare hands, and not even think to at least grab for some gardening gloves?

Clear to me now, tunnel vision had taken over…to get pictures of my perilous tree which had finally bloomed again after 12 years.

In the historic ’05 hurricane season, Wilma toppled this breathtaking prickly pear, sprawling it across three backyards. Cleanup was a bear. For days my daughter Jenna and I gingerly picked up and hauled branches covered with needle-like thorns that penetrated our flimsy gloves (all we had in those post-hurricane days). Greg was away every hour of daylight repairing damage at work, and Jenna and I finally just threw the last remnants of branches in a heap, where they stayed throughout that year.

Unbeknownst to us, those remnants took root and began to grow into a sort of unattractive spinney near the back fence of my tropical yard. For some odd reason (or pure self-preservation in not handling the wicked thorns), we never cut down the tiny replicas of the magnificent original.

Over a decade later and by now 10-feet high, the prickly pear took another devastating hit from Irma last fall.  With so many other things to deal with post-hurricane, we left it on it’s own to just sit there—and rot.

And then one day, these breathtaking flowers appeared amidst the dying tree.
Prickily 2 (2)

They seemed to be calling out to me about our incredible Creator, and I just had to capture it.

The symbolic flowers were telling a story by their mere existence, a true tale of life, storms, destruction, and a glimpse of the future…all for my prickly pear tree, and me.
Prckily 5 (2)
Between those hurricanes, my own physical stability and health took a fierce hit with longtime damage, too. Maybe that’s why those flowers are calling out to me in such a meaningful way this spring—reminding me of what God can do with our hurt, our injuries, what appears to be near ruin.

Our God, our Protector, our Healerthe One who gives life to me, to you, and to a crazy bunch of half-trees in my backyard that for some reason are still standing and may even amaze us with some fruit late this summer.

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