“Hugging the cactus” or even the military motto of “embrace the suck” are expressions used to describe the resolve to not retreat, ignore, deny, brush over, and/or excuse the unpleasant realities that may be before us.
Clearly this could be the physical and/or the psychological pains we inevitably encounter throughout life.
It’s acknowledging the need to face them head on – to address the issues, the problems, and the difficulties.
Though not an easy, or a pleasurable task, it is courageous, constructive, necessary, and a most healing one.
For when we can acknowledge and grieve the bad, while simultaneously holding on to and looking forward to the good, we become more of a whole person – both at the same time broken and beautiful.
Perhaps one of my favorite, and one of the most powerful examples that exists to reflect the power, blessing, and hope that can come from facing reality as it is, and learning to live in faith with both the brokenness and the beauty of life, ourselves, and others can be seen in Lamentations 3:20-23.
“I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning”.
Without faith, the hardships of reality can definitely lead to a strong desire for escapism, denial, etc. But in faith and with God – all things are possible.
There’s a litany of things I regret, morn, grieve, and wish I could do over again. My guess many of us do, but we can look back at those moments, times, and actions and engage them. See them for what they are – and grieve them.
I am learning how to forgive myself, others, and to learn from the man that once was. Why he did what he did – what was driving him. Mostly, it wasn’t good things, and tragically sad. Involving the loss and hardening of heart and desire – and the desperate seeking for something lost and missing.
Today, I’m not who I once one, and not who I desire to be. But I have hope and can see and feel the healing God has brought to me – though slow, it is evident and true. It is a taste of what can be, what will be, and what is possible with Christ.
Though, I’m not there yet, I understand the desire to press on – to stretch and reach farther, and to abide and trust deeper. A healing heart takes time, like an oak tree grows. It may be slow, but oh so strong as it’s roots grow deeper, it’s trunk broader and it’s branches farther – helped by each season that comes its way.