Yup.. A cactus. Not just any cactus though.
A Christmas Cactus, a Schlumbergera bridgessii.
In the last couple days I have been in touch with a couple friends and offered up prayers for them and their various loved ones.
One friend's dog ate a couple things he shouldn't have and ended up needing surgery to remove them. This was after two days of not know what the problem was. The dog just stopped eating and drinking. When he would eat something, he would vomit it back up. Keep in mind the dog is about 10 1/2 years old, not a young pup by any means, so it could have been anything. The surgery was successful. They removed the items. Then the vet called and expressed concern about him making it through the night because of his age. It doesn't make it any easier with him being older. Some would say, "He's lived a good life" or "That's really expensive for a pet." However, I know he is one of the family. Just of the kids who happens to be in a fur coat.
I checked in with another friend about her daughter. A month or so ago this friend's daughter was taken to the ER because her heart wouldn't stop racing. After much monitoring and many tests it was determined that she needed to see a cardiologist. That appointment was this weeek. They were told that to fully determine the issue, open heart surgery is needed. There are two possibilities of the problem... we're hoping for the first, and not the second. The daughter... 16 years old.
I'm not so sure I would be handling either situation as well as they are.
OK.. so now you're wondering what does a Christmas Cactus have to do with all this.
I love plants. It is very relaxing to me to "play" with my plants. I can grow many many things. Except ivy. In my house, ivy dies, no matter what I do. I have a Mother-In-Law Tongue that is over four feet tall and blooms every year. The blooms smell so good... until they wilt. I get them cut off and out of the house quickly at that point.
Christmas catcus are another of my favorites. I had a difficult time at first getting them to bloom. So I did a bunch of research. Come to find out.. they bloom best when stressed. That is probably an over simplification, but hear me out. The 'experts' say that to get the best and most blooms the plant needs to have a lot of darkness at the right time, kept rather cool (around 50-55 degrees), needs to be underwatered, and be pot-bound.
Now, I don't know about you.. but if I were kept in the dark in a cold room with very little water and not enough room to move.. I'd be stressed and then some! However, this catcus, under those exact circumstances, blooms prettier and more abundantly than it's plant mates in a paradise-ical (yup.. new word of the day) environment. SO MANY lessons we could take away from that.
So.. next time you're feeling stressed and the struggles are mounting, remember the Christmas Cactus and it's blooms. You can... and will... bloom just as lovely as it does. In fact, I'd be willing to bet that you'll look more beautiful.