Cactus as a Heart Thermometer


Welcome to our cul-de-sac. Let’s start out with some thankfulness, shall we?! I love that we live in a cul-de-sac. It is incredibly rare where we live to have anything like this – not a lot of traffic, pretty quiet, and lots of kids. But there is one thing that on really bad days make me want to pack my bags and go home. Know what it is?! Cactus! On the perimeter of that entire island there is cactus. I cannot tell you how many times I have stepped on, been poked, and/or bled because of it. You’re probably thinking, “Oh Jackie, you are being extreme. You wouldn’t really pack your bags and go home because of cactus.” But this is the side of living overseas that no one really talks about. The little, inanimate things that can make it or break it depending on the day. And because the cactus usually interfere with trying to get my kids into the car and to school on time, It takes everything in me not to yell, “Forget It!”. When I have to buckle one kid in, and then get in the drivers seat to pull away from the curb (the CACTUS!) in order to get back out and buckle the other kid in on the other side of the car, when we are already rushing to get there on time, it would make you want to lose your mind.

It’s not like this everyday, of course. But, you know those days where it’s 8am and you feel like you should probably go back to bed, and start your day again in a couple of hours?! That’s when it feels like the cactus are out to get you! (As I’m typing this, I’m realizing that I probably need some help as I’m thinking that inanimate objects are trying to orchestrate my demise!)

I’m sure people deal with these same kinds of things living in their home culture. (It’s probably a lego left on the floor and stepped on in the middle of the night!). I’m just amazed at how something as crazy as a cactus can show me the status of my heart on any given day. When we were in the process of moving here, we had a friend describe to us that going overseas can sometimes be like you are a tea bag put in a cup of extremely hot water and you get the opportunity to see what is really in the “teabag” of your heart. Oh Man, has THAT ever been the truth. Living overseas for me has been one cup of hot water after another. New Language, hot water. New Culture, hot water. Little kids, hot water. I thought that maybe after 3.5 years the water might start to cool off a little, but I don’t think that is really how this life works. There is ALWAYS more in my heart to deal with. Cactus, more hot water, more heart thermometer. More to examine, work through, apologize for. I’m learning, probably slower then my husband or children would like, but I’m learning. Even if cactus are the learning tool. 🙂

But as the picture attests to, I’m thankful for a husband who is willing to lessen the cactus curriculum by taking a rainy saturday morning to use a shovel as a machete and go to town demolishing  those suckers. 🙂


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