The Cactus Blooms!

“The cactus has flowers!”

With delight, I rushed inside the house and declared my news to the children. I had just arrived from work, parked the car, then absent-mindedly made my way to the front door.

Then my eye saw it.

The cactus plant that I had in a pot, left behind (abandoned!) by our home’s previous owners years ago, generally unattended (ignored) and left to itself on the porch, had decided to display massive pale pink blooms!


There was a time when I felt like a plant in the desert.

Desert cactus w copyright

The day’s toils took such a toll in the arid, scorched, hostile surrounds. Sometimes, thirsting for the refreshing flow of support and friendship, I spot a distant pool of water. Only to be disappointed when it turned out to be a mirage.

“Sorry, Joyce. I agree it’s bad behaviour but you have to ‘wrestle’ him down on your own.”

“I promise. We will make this place a great place to work.”

The rolling plains of desert sand stretched forever … Well, it looked like it stretched forever. When you’ve been trudging through the desert for years, the last few steps seem like forever.

But good things were born during that desert experience.

I learned to use mental “muscles” I had not used as much lately.

From developing strategy to implementing what I developed, I went down to the ‘trench’ level of implementation. Wrestling with operating model design details including process flows, procedures, forms, training materials, intranet site design, even document repository structure and meta-data choices. 

I learned to build, not just design or use, capabilities.

Like an architect who joined the people who laid bricks, I now appreciate each brick and the brick-laying process. Like the building owner who joined the painters, I now marvel how the design can come to life through detail.

When I look back at what was built and see it now from afar, my heart swells and I feel like a proud mother.

I learned to toughen up my spirit, yet still maintain a soft heart. I learned to forgive and bless. I learned to stand-up to bad behaviour, though often bruised. I learned to speak up when I was shouted down.  I helped others, even those who plotted against me. I learned to hold true to my values, not only in fair weather, but more so during the storms.

What did I learn from the desert experience? I learned that though I looked isolated in the desert, I was not alone for God was with me.

And that’s why I bloom.

Desert Song by Hillsong, 2008.

He turned the desert into pools of water
and the parched ground into flowing springs;

Let the one who is wise heed these things and ponder the loving deeds of the Lord.

Psalm 107:35, 43 (The Bible, NIV Version)


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