I Fell Out of a Tree Into a Cactus
All situations in life teach us, this is what I learnt.
I was 11 years old and friends and I had climbed a tree. I was trying to show off as usual when I was with my friends, because I always felt it was my duty to entertain them.
I was pulling myself along a thick branch trying to peer into my friends neighbours house (over the wall) and then it happened, crack! The branch broke and I landed side on in the cactus bushes below.
The cognitive dissonance that ensued was something that I learnt. You see the cactus being fleshy broke my fall and was soft to land on as it was a very thick cactus bush, but the thorns obviously were a problem, so rather than broken bones, I had piercing pain in what felt like a thousand places.
I still remember my dad, painstakingly removing the thorns with tweezers from my bruised body. I still remember the itchy sensation that followed in the days after. My mom asking me why I was climbing that tree and what I was trying to do by looking into that property.
Cushioned hard falls, with prickles.
Sometimes a hard fall can be cushioned, but comes with other pain of it’s own. How many times in life have I experienced this. Let’s take Covid for example.
We have given up a lot to go into lockdowns and wear masks, but it cushions us hopefully from actually contracting the disease, and spending weeks in some cases and months in others recovering. (Yes I am aware that some people get nothing more than a cold or quite bad flu like symptoms, my cousin has had it, as has my sister they were both fine in 5 days or so, no lasting effects. They both were not vaccinated, as there were no vaccines when they caught it in South Africa)
Sometimes it’s only when we venture out on a rotten branch that we discover the branch is in fact rotten, sometimes we cannot check when it comes to people, we have to fall, and endure the pain. Think of your broken relationships, or a particularly bad break up, missing someone you were deeply in love with. Your friends and family are there to cushion the fall, but the pain is still piercing. The emotional ‘cactus’ that you have to endure and process, like the moments you shared, the songs, the places you visited, the things you said to each other. Over time that cactus loses it’s thorns and you are left with your friends and family, the ‘cushions’ that supported you from injuring yourself more.
Sometimes the things that we rely on or trust, or the people we rely on or trust look okay on the outside. Deep within there is a rot that we cannot see. Circumstances may change, people you thought were your friends can turn on you. I experienced this in two companies I worked for. I was head hunted to other companies just before they retrenched everyone, and ‘restructured.’
Those two companies were what I was relying on for my livelihood at the time, little did I know, little did my colleagues know, that our futures were being decided in board room meetings we were not invited to.
I was fortunate and I am always thankful to God that I made the decision to move when I did, twice. I was happy too that my friends and colleagues all found other jobs too.
Our awful boss was out of a job for a while, but then showed up on LinkedIn smug in a new position. (Alas, some turds can’t be flushed.)
He was definitely a rotten branch, always trying to manipulate and harass the women in the office, and he was married. Anyway enough about him.
Life can also give us rotten branches, when we think something we believe to be true, when we have not looked deeper and done a careful analysis on what we believe. If we had done such an analysis perhaps we wouldn’t have taken that route, being supported only by a rotting branch, that looked good on the outside.
Always consider carefully what you believe and why you believe it, and mostly search for truth. I have found many times in life I have put my trust in ‘rotten branches’ and only when I have dug deeper, located the rot.
We have to venture out though, branch out and explore. Don’t allow a fall to stop you seeking.
Venturing out on a ‘branch’ in faith can be very rewarding when that branch holds, and your trust is rewarded. Many entrepreneurs are those that have the courage to ‘branch out’ and extend themselves, leaving the safety of the trunk, to see what they can learn over that ‘wall’. Seeking what new knowledge they can glean. I take my hat off to them, they take the risks, they deserve the rewards.
Keep seeking, keep questioning, and most of all be resilient. Thank you for reading, I hope this article was helpful.