The real joy of kite-flying

kiteI think that God is constantly trying talk to us.  I think that He wants to guide us.  The tough part is finding time alone where life is quiet enough to hear him.  One of the more successful ways for me to do that is to go fly a kite. I really enjoy flying kites.  The kites I fly are “stunt kites” which basically means that they have two lines instead of one.  That means that you can make them do loop-de-loops, dives, and all kinds of fun maneuvers.  The bottom line is that you have a lot more control over the kite. And — I’ll admit it — I have control issues.    Today, I had the day to myself and nobody to remind me of all my responsibilities and grown-up issues.  So I took the time to go fly my kite.  And I think God used that time to talk to me…

Just to be clear, it’s not like I was having some audible conversation.  It’s not like the clouds parted and a voice from the sky bellowed like James Earl Jones ,  “Hey Dick, how’s it going? How ’bout those Cubbies?”  It wasn’t like that at all.  It was this very quiet voice in my mind that comes up with things that seem to be random thoughts.  They make me ask myself “Where the heck did that thought come from?  I wasn’t thinking about that at all. ”  If I wasn’t thinking about it, who was?  I figure that it is the small, still voice of God – or maybe I’m nuts.    (There’s a great quote from Lily Tomlin: “Why is it when we talk to God, we are praying.  But when He talks to us, we’re schizophrenic?”).  Anyway, most of the time, He doesn’t give me any great new revelations, He just points out stuff I already knew – or maybe I knew it, but never really thought about it much – in which case, since God has just pointed it out.. maybe I should give it some thought.

I thought I’d share some things that He pointed out to me today.

  • Joy – Of all the emotions that we humans can feel, “joy” has got to be at the top of the list of the best emotions.  It is amazing how much work we will do for just a little joy. I actually spent way more time untangling string, winding string, setting up the kite, waiting for wind, and struggling to keep the kite up  – than I did actually flying and enjoying the kite actually flying.  But it was worth it.  I had a blast when it was really going well.  We’ll wait for hours in line to spend 2 minutes on a roller coaster ride.  Atheletes spend hours upon hours practicing and training so that they can have a few moments to experience the joy of victory.  Joy is a precious commodity.  It is something to be savored.  And it rarely comes without preperation.  You have to seek joy.
  • Making Joy – Perhaps the trick is to not see the preparation as a horrible chore that is required to bring about joy.  Perhaps the trick is to find joy in doing something that will bring joy.  I could look at the winding and untangling of kite string with disdain.  Or I could look at it as just part of the formula for flying kites.  Here’s another example: Instead of focusing on the tediousness of making a cake, you say “Yum, this is going to be good”.  I guess the trick is to find joy in the anticipation.   In the computer industry, we call this a paradigm shift.  Change your perspective and you can change your world.
  • It is not Good for man to be alone – (This is straight outta Genesis) Even something as solitary as kite-flying is easier when you have a helper.  On days (like today) when the wind is inconsistant, kites will drop to the ground.  Without somebody to hold the kite up again, I had to wind the string up to the point where I could hold the kite up and let it catch the the wind again.  I got to the point where I was ok with that process, but I couldn’t help but think how much easier it would be with a helper – but it would have to be a helper who was committed to helping me find my joy (flying the kite, in this case).  That reminded me that I need to be open to the times when I can be a helper to help somebody else find joy.
  • God is in control – even with all the control that I get with two lines on a stunt kite, I am still at the mercy of the wind (provided by God).  No matter how much I wanted the kite to fly, if there was no wind, it wasn’t going to fly.  It was a reminder to me that no matter how much I like to think I’m in control, I’m not.
  • Joy is natural – I had a great time flying my kite.  But it wasn’t just the kite that brought me joy, it was the time spent alone with God.  I didn’t need any batteries or even electricity; I didn’t need special software or hardware; I didn’t have to have network access.  Heck, it didn’t even cost me a dime.  It was just me, God, His beautiful sky and a kite that reminded me how great it is to be in the presence of the One who really is in control.

I think I’m going to go make a cake, now.  Ymmm, this is going to be good!