In our Wisdom from a Cactus series, here is Tip #4: Don’t desert your friends.
April is a beautiful time in the desert because something is in bloom! In today’s blog are several photos that capture what we’ve seen on recent hikes.
The desert ecosystem requires interdependence. The various parts of the cactus picture that beautifully. Some of the birds and small animals eat the flowers, others eat the fruit, some make their home in cacti—but all are important for the continuation of the desert. Cactus seeds are often deposited together by birds and small animals, and therefore ‘grow up’ in close quarters. The saguaro in particular requires the protection of other plants because it is so vulnerable in its early years. It can take 50-75 years before the straight saguaro ‘sprouts’ its first arm! That’s a long time for closeness!
Although there is competition for resources, and ultimately only the strong survive, in surveying the desert landscape, one can see that there are clusters of similar plants. Typically they are not next to each other, but they are in proximity. They don’t desert their friends.
In thinking through an application for our health and wellness, I was reminded about studies that have indicated the value of relationships for us. According to the American Medical Association, loneliness is linked with poor health in people ages 60 and older. Those senior adults who are functioning best maintain connections with and are supported by community, family members, and friends. It is deliberate that senior centers and senior communities have social calendars that rival a young family. Administrators know that the health benefits of social interaction and friendships are well-documented!
My mom’s senior community offers her a myriad of activities from which to choose- exercise classes and pool time to game time of dominoes, bingo, and a variety of card games. There are regular outings to downtown destinations as well as shopping opportunities. There are movie nights, travel programs, as well as chapel. I can’t keep up with her social schedule- but she does! The groups seem to develop their own level of accountability, and they check up on someone who hasn’t come around for a day or two. They don’t desert their friends!
Although the studies are often done with the elderly, my observation is that the nicest people to be around…are around people! Realistically speaking though, because of our extremely busy and scheduled days, relationships can be difficult to maintain in spite of our best intentions. Delays at work and long lines at the store can derail the best-laid plans for a special family activity.
In spite of the difficulty, though, it seems to be extremely important to our overall health to maintain relationships. I would also add, by observation, that healthy relationships provide the best benefit.
Today, do your part to be the healthiest component possible in all of your relationships. A Biblical principle re: relationships is summarized in these words from the book of Romans: If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.
Have a wonderful day! Please remember that if there is anything I can do for you, just let me know. Phone/text 480.382.8255.