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Bloom in the Desert  

Six degrees Fahrenheit.   Walk a mile and a half in that kind of weather and you discover an alternate meaning to the expression, “chill out.”   Though our day began in the windy city of Chicago, it ended in the warmth of Arizona.

Our friends, Charlie and Kathy, were kind enough to host our visit and drive us down to Tucson's Saguaro National Park.  What a contrast to the snow and ice we'd left behind.   Midwesterner that I am, it took a while for me to process that we were driving through an honest-to-goodness desert.   Red rock formations, gray dust and the stereotypical roadside tumbleweed or cactus painted an iconic portrait of southwestern desert life.

All of this I had expected.  But here's what I didn't expect: beauty.   Winding along the Valley View trail (with a wary eye for any of the six species of rattle snakes that slither through the park), we were treated now and then to the most gorgeous flowers.  Atop a random cactus sat a ring of yellow blooms, an unlikely crown for the prickly guard lining the side of the trail.

Deprived of regular rain or shade, these plants dared to bloom in a climate hostile to growth or beauty.   I am learning there are some flowers that can only be grown in the desert.

Perhaps you are trekking through a desert of your own at this very moment.  An emotional desert.  Maybe a spiritual desert.  The truth is, we're all either in the middle of a desert, or soon will be.  Two words of encouragement:

First, we do not walk alone.  I love the reminder of Hebrews 13:5: “For He Himself has said, 'Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.'” 

Second, it might not feel like it right now, but it's possible—entirely possible—spectacular beauty will soon crown your life.  I don't know how.  I don't know in what form.  I can only tell you that I've seen it before.

So stick to the trail.

Keep on walking.

And dare to bloom.

 

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Jon GaugerJon Gauger

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