A woman was treated for mental instability after her family was killed in a tragic accident. She had contemplated suicide and attempted it once, but had failed. Her anguish and sorrow meant little sleep, no consideration for her appearance, and a complete disinterest in food.
Her new therapist had a few items around his office, and the woman picked up of the few odd items and began constructing a building with intensity. He had worked with patients who sometimes required physical activities; so he did not object.
It took the woman a few weeks to work through her emotions with the therapist, who began to counsel her as she opened up. While in therapy she began to see a future beyond that day, and to talk of who she had been like before her marriage. She realized her life was not over, but would always be changed by the tragedy she had endured. She made improvements that showed recovery was in progress and her visits were slowly decreased.
On the first anniversary of the tragedy, the woman walked into the office expecting to meet her therapist and deal with her latest emotions from that day. Instead, she discovered her therapist had been replaced and no explanation given until finally the receptionist admitted he had been severely wounded in an accident. The woman ran from the building and drove away through tears. Many hours later on a remote road she stopped the car and stared at a large cactus before her. Her anger and emotions flared up as she kicked at the plant and felt the sting of tiny spines jutting through her shoe. She threw her lunch at the cactus, and had a moment of relief when she saw the effect of the food’s colors on the cactus.
Over the next few hours she tested different weights on the cactus, suspending items from the spines or gently around the arm of the cactus. She became enthralled with the effect and decided to mimic the real cactus with a clay one. She became proficient at crafting a cactus replica and even at creating splines that could bear weight, and began to decorate the replica. When it was finally finished, the woman drove to the original and placed the replica in a pot beside it. A sense of peace flooded over her, and she realized this new art form was important to her.
Purchasing a plot of land thick with cactus, the woman began to populate her cacti forest with decorated replicas of varied themes and colors. Each was unique and had hours devoted to the perfect addition to its form. As her art became known, the woman allowed visitors to wander through her cacti forest.
Popularity increased enough to warrant a few television interviews, but the woman declined them and became increasingly reclusive. Her art was personal, and she began avoiding the crowds on her property and questions about what a particular cactus was saying, and how they might purchase one. The more she withdrew, the more the crowds of the curious seemed to grow. Finally, she sold the land to an investor and began again in a more remote location and restored the peace she had fought so hard to attain.
—————Thoughts that motivated this story—————
In this story I wanted to convey an artist with a singular focus.
Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan
Matthew 3:5 describes a big group of people seeking to hear directly from the supposed ‘prophet in the wilderness’. They were not satisfied with the news of those who told them about it, they wanted to see and hear for themselves. Some to satisfy their curiosity, others perhaps to seek answers to questions they could not answer. Why would God promise a Messiah, yet the bondage under people and nations continued, and would there be another Moses to set them free? Those from Jerusalem would generally have more wealth or at least a trade; while those in the region around the Jordan might be humble fisherman and farm workers. There was no seat of honor for the wealthy or prominent. This large group from varied backgrounds heard a common message meant for all.
John had a purpose that meant he was unimpressed by the large number, and his message was shouted whether they cheered or ignored him. In a way he reminds me of a great artist or athlete with singular focus, completely uninterested in accolades, only in meeting his intentions. John knew the Lord was real, he knew this from the time he was a fetus and he knew that his job was to prepare the way for the Lord. Like an unsung hero or a starving artist in his own time, John was dead to the world in regards to accomplishments. He left no legacy of children or written words; and yet he was the sole reason all these both high and low people came to a remote place. To hear him, the voice (not the word) crying out.
Rest and relax, he said. Soon you will be delivered and set free. Just kidding. There was never a moment of rest, never a celebration and feasting in John’s simple life. He exemplified humility in his dress, his food, his choice of location. In the Old Testament the prophet’s purpose was to warn the people to repent, but the reason to repent was to prevent something. John was unique, he was a prophet proclaiming repentance to prepare for a spiritual kingdom; to prepare people for the king of heaven. Will a king delay his coming because we’re not ready? No. At any time and on any day the Lord calls people to Him in various ways. Mine was a terrifying moment, for I thought it demanded alienation from everyone I loved. No cost is too high to accept what cannot be bought. I would make the choice again, even if every fear I had became reality.